Wednesday, January 30, 2013

All the Lies...That You Tell

I've been thinking and writing about communication lately...why it's important, how it should be done, and how it overshadows many other organizational challenges that may initially be perceived as "the real problem." To that end, a big part of communication is accuracy.

That means I shouldn't be worrying about getting played, hearing a version of the story that the other person wants me to hear, or simply being fed the wrong information. (I call that last one lying.)

Intent v Self-Preservation
Before we get too far down the trail let me say that the overwhelming majority of people do not intentionally lie in the workplace. They come to work, put forth a lot of energy doing good work, and then head home after a busy day or night. However, the challenges are more pronounced during periods of rapid change. Old routines are disrupted, expectations are evolving, and the self-confidence that once fueled the work day is not quite so strong.

This leads to a focus on self-preservation, not on effective communication.

Break Through
So how does an organization break through the feeling of a chaotic work life and establish a new sense of stability? The answer is our old friend communication. When the pace transitions from a state of business-as-usual to a perceived state of chaos, it's time to pull the team together and talk.

Maybe it's the need to simply validate that it is a chaotic time, and you and the leadership team are going to have a bit of a bumpy ride for a while.

Perhaps it means that an update is necessary to ensure each person is current on the new initiatives that are underway.

Or maybe it's time to have a strategic planning session to help the leaders understand their roles and expectations going forward.

Whatever you feel is ultimately necessary, no one on the team will fault you for pausing momentarily to bring the team together and get everyone grounded again.

How About You
What steps are you taking to provide calm leadership during a stormy time? Regardless of how you feel about the changes going on, it's imperative that HR step up and help the organization's leaders settle down, so the real work can get done.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

photo credit


  1. Thanks for the friendly reminder, Jay. I'm sure this is very relevant in most workplaces today. It hit home with me!

    1. Thanks for the comment Nicole. Hope all is well with you!

  2. When developing a change plan for chaotic times, communication is a key element. People need to know and understand both the "why" and the "what" of the change.
    Beyond communication, they also need to see leaders who model what the change involves, they need education on the "how" - like what behaviors or actions need to be different. And they need acknowledgement as they help you get through the change. Getting past transition and into transformation.