Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Din of Organisational Silence – Di Worrall

The Din of Organisational Silence

Slackers: The people at work, who contribute the minimum necessary, yet seem to get by. Everyone knows who they are but the workplace wall of silence and fear means that no-one confronts them directly, instead venting their frustration and resentment through whispers in the corridor and around the coffee machine.   Dealing with negative impacts of “slackers” in a work team is but one of many chronic organisational issues perpetuated by a culture of organisational silence that is afraid to confront important issues lest there be recriminations against those who take a stand (Accountability Leadership, 2013, Di Worrall).

In a healthy workplace culture, employees rely on colleagues to be proactive because improving processes requires the expression of new ideas. In a culture of fear, visibility can lead to scapegoating; better to let your colleagues stick their neck out and attract the attention.  Such “organisational silence” results in stymied innovation, if not paralysis.  An article in the Harvard Business Review by David K. Williams and Mary Michelle Scott, December 10, 2012, addressed fear’s inhibiting effect. A study demonstrated that only three percent of employees surveyed were free of fear in the workplace. Of that three percent, fear of making a mistake was the number one concern.

Successful leaders, however, must rely on their peers and those around them for feedback. They must break through the din of organisational silence and be open to hearing criticism; encouraging those who are willing to provide it. Without a safe, risk-sharing environment an organisation cannot evolve or effectively create new products for the market.  Feedback and mistakes are crucial to the learning and development process. Developing a culture that tolerates and even encourages mistakes is a healthier environment and one that is conducive to creativity.

Loose cannons so to speak, though they can be a liability, are necessary in an organisation because they are willing to initiate discussion on difficult topics. An article by Vivian Giang that appeared in “Business Insider” reports on Jim Donald, CEO of Extended Stay America. He became CEO after the company emerged from bankruptcy. At the time he realised that staff were fearful of losing their jobs so he introduced Monopoly-style “Get out of jail, free” cards to encourage risky ideas and creative behavior.  Employees could act on their creative impulses without penalty and were even held accountable at review time if they had not used their cards.

Whatever the method, a culture where employees are not afraid of recrimination will boost the innovative and creative power of an organisation. In a competitive marketplace, risky is the new safe.

Post by Di Worrall

Award-winning Business Transformation & Strategy Consultant, Best Selling Author, Executive Coach

Find out more about the link between high performance and high accountability in Di Worrall’s latest #1 Amazon best selling book: Accountability Leadership – How Great Leaders Build a High Performance Culture of Accountability and Responsibility (2013) at

Di Worrall

Accountability Leadership Saves Tech Company

In 2005, HCL Technologies was in trouble.

The Delhi-based IT firm was losing market share, as competitors grew by 50% annually.

By 2009, HCL’s president, Vineet Nayar had turned the company around, nearly tripling annual revenues and doubling market capitalisation despite the recession.

Nayar accomplished all this through a top-down culture of accountability, beginning with the leadership qualities of himself—the CEO—and other senior managers.

The Rules Of Accountability Have Changed

Great business leaders understand that acceptance of greater personal accountability and responsibility leads organisations back on the path to success.

But with the evolving nature of 21st century business, the practical steps that go into creating a high performance culture of accountability have become more muddled than ever.

Many organisations have seen temporary improvements, implementing traditional systems of accountability in an attempt to drive high performance in the workplace—only to quickly revert back to their old ways, or worse.

Accountability Leadership Will Teach You:

  • What it really takes to lead a high performance culture of accountability
  • Why so many of today’s employees avoid personal accountability and responsibility like the plague, and how to reverse that trend
  • How to sustain great performance through inspiring feedback, feed-forward and follow-through
  • What an accountability plan is, how to create one, and why it’s considered the “secret weapon” behind successful business transformation

Filled with real world case studies and straightforward, easy to digest research, Accountability Leadership offers practical solutions that are direct, engaging, fast, cost-effective, proven, and easy to implement...

Immediate, Concrete Solutions You’ll Take Away From This Book Include:

  • How to transform the “dark side” of accountability into a positive force for change
  • Why carrots and sticks no longer work—and what they’ve been replaced with
  • How to create compelling consequences that inspire people to perform at their best, and achieve the ultra productive workstate known as “flow”
  • Crack the code of high accountability conversations, turning confrontation into a productive and positive opportunity

Accountability Leadership Also Sheds Light On Topics Like...

  • How negativity bias covertly sabotages your feedback loop with your employees
  • The optimal ratio for positive to negative comments in feedback
  • The right amount of autonomy to give employees—without overdoing it
  • What lack of recognition is really doing to your workforce (hint: it’s staggering)
  • The surprising biochemical effect of praise, and why it cannot fail

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A Personal Message From The Author

Accountability is arguably the number-one issue that makes or breaks leadership performance today. Yet most of us were never taught this critical skill—not by our parents, teachers or business leaders.

The good news is, accountability can be coached.

The ideas in this book draw from extensive research and 25 years experience working with executives to improve performance through high accountability.

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Genre - Business, Leadership, Workplace Behaviour, Human Resources, Executive Coaching

Rating – PG

More details about the author

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