The 24 Hour Rule

Have you ever received an offensive email from someone but didn’t quite know how to respond? I have. Well what about an offensive comment that was delivered in person? Yeah, that’s happened to me too. In fact, my hunch is just about every single one of us have been in that same situation. Well, just recently, Jim Hendry, the General Manager of the Chicago Cubs came to speak to my class class. And in addition to sharing his thoughts about the sports industry, he also gave us his theory on this dilemma, named the “24 Hour Rule.”

The 24 Hour Rule seemed to be one of his personal mantras. The rule says, if someone says something that irritates you, then you should sleep on it first, and then if it still bothers you by the next day, you should be sure to respond thoughtfully within 24 hours.

The idea is that you shouldn’t respond too quickly, because you more than likely run the risk of overreacting due to your emotion. On the other hand, you also shouldn’t wait too long to respond, because after 24 hours, it may feel too late to bring up the conversation again.

In reality, most of us lean one way or the other. We either spend far too long deliberating whether to bring it back up. Or we respond too quickly, failing to come up with a more thoughtful response.

On the other hand, great leaders have superb communication skills. Not only do they address critical issues quickly, but they also address them thoughtfully and with consideration for the other person.

So how are you going to respond to the next offensive comment you hear?

Unsure? Then maybe try the 24 hour rule to see if that helps.

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011 Business School, Careers

1 Comment to The 24 Hour Rule

[…] learned over his first year of b-school. Kellogg ’12 Jeremy asked his readers how they would respond to an offensive comment or email. LBS ’12 mbahut shared his own thoughts on creativity in business education programs. INSEAD […]

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Jeremy C Wilson is a JD-MBA alumni using his site to share information on education, the social enterprise revolution, entrepreneurship, and doing things differently. Feel free to send along questions or comments as you read.

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The contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect the views or position of Kellogg, Northwestern Law, the JD-MBA program, or any firm that I work for. I only offer my own perspective on all issues.
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