Consider for a moment all of the conversations that are not happening in your organization.
- Questions are going unasked because people don’t know how to ask them without feeling vulnerable?
- Disagreements are still simmering on the back burner because it’s easier to blame others than work through differences?
- People are leaving because no one bothered to tell them how valuable they are?
- Opportunities are timing out because the risk of sharing cutting edge ideas feels too high?
It doesn’t take too much imagination to recognize the high cost of shared silence in organizations.
So why don’t people talk with each other about the things that really matter?
I think the answer is shockingly simple. They don’t know how to.
I believe that the resounding silence we’ve come to accept as “normal” is actually a symptom of an old, deep skill gap that’s been around for so long, people just accept that that’s the way it is. It seems easier and feels safer to “grin and bear it,” talk behind people’s backs, or get busy doing something less challenging when people lack the skills needed to productively engage in the conversations they most need to have.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Just imagine for a moment what would be happening if the people in your organization began stepping into the conversations they are currently avoiding. What could be accomplished? How would the resulting shift in the culture benefit your organization?
The delta between whatever the current reality is in your organization and what is possible if things changed is the cost of accepting a culture of silence. For some organizations, the price will be staggering.
Instilling “in the moment” coaching capabilities throughout your organizations is an effective way to break the silence and give people the skills and support they need to engage in real conversations that make a real difference.