The so-called “organizational opinion”

Estimated read time: 2 minutes

You’ve probably heard it:

  • What’s the organization’s stand on this?
  • What does the organization say about this?
  • So and so is or isn’t representing the organization’s opinion.

And I wonder: Can an organization have an opinion? Of course not. The people part of an organization – collectively or individually – can, though.

The opinion is either the opinion of a decision maker or a group of them. Many times, it’s not even an opinion. Organizational opinions sometimes are closer to safe answers.

“We support the best.”

Sometimes organizational opinions sound like this:

  • We don’t comment on this kind of thing.
  • We have to evaluate all of the facts before saying anything else. (Good luck with that one. All the facts.)
  • We agree with whatever so and so agrees with.

And doesn’t “we don’t have an opinion” actually mean “we do have an opinion but don’t want to tell you?”

Everyone has an opinion. Even journalists  have opinions, despite trying so hard not to. (I used to be there!)

Opinions sometimes aren’t safe and not everyone will like them. And can organizational collectives have one opinion and individuals part of that collective have another opinion?

Ultimately, it comes down to this: What does an organization stand for, what do its members belief and try to accomplish?

The organizations that have defined this well, will likely never have to give their “organizational opinion” for specific events ever again. People know what it is, even without somebody massaging the wording for a specific response. The opinion doesn’t change from day to do. It is what it is.

People will know – whether it’s said or not. And the actual people that are part of the organization will believe the collective opinion because it’s what they live and believe in.

It’s OK to have opinions – especially when they are authentic and have long been defined by what we do day in and day out and aren’t just decided  for specific events happening now.

(P.S.: And this doesn’t mean that our opinions can’t change/evolve over time.)