There must be times you just want to throw your hands up and not only
quit your job but to change industry. We all get frustrated with moves
made within our industries, but should you toss in the towel, stay
quiet, or speak out? There are probably times all three would be
appropriate, but speaking out is often the hardest.
But should you criticize your industry out loud? That’s what Mark Stevens, CEO of marketing firm MSCO, did when he wrote Your Marketing Sucks. He charged that Madison Avenue is more concerned with winning Clio Awards than generating ROI for their clients.
“Absolutely, you should criticize your own industry. That is, of course, when you believe your industry is aborting or failing to fulfill it’s true mission,” says Stevens.
But don’t just complain and rant. Offer solutions for what you think is wrong in your sector. “You should speak out when you have something productive to say that you can back up with facts. People respect well-reasoned, fact based, common sense opinions that aren’t just complaints. Most find it refreshing, but due to career politics are afraid to say what needs to be said,” says Michael Bremmer, CEO of Telecomquotes .com.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to criticize your industry. Use the proper tone, tact and be respectful. “The best way to engage in this constructive criticism is to spell out a detailed analysis of where the industry is falling short and what can be done to achieve a course correction,” says Stevens.
Be aware there most likely could also be backlash. “You’re going to barbecue a few sacred cows and people won’t like it…so you might lose a few lunch invites…but the ones you’ll get because you speak out will be even better, Bremmer points out. But if you truly believe that what you are doing is right and necessary, don’t be swayed. “Of course you will be subjected to push back, anger and resentment that can border on the emotional. That’s because if you are truly affected you are not so much a critic as a disrupter. You may be forcing people to come out of their comfort zone and behave in a different matter,” says Stevens.
Good things, however, can come from speaking out. Not only may you right some wrongs in your field, but it could also boost your career. “He who speaks out becomes the head of the committee–be ready for that. Leaders speak out and are expected to lead, from the front, meaning you’ll be asked to sit on boards, speak at events and be a leader,” says Bremmer.