Saturday, September 04, 2004

Surviving Corporate Silence

I found this paper that nicely summarizes how corporations should deal with corporate change. I've seen my share of corporate reinvention so I've seen a lot of this advice put into play, however, there's one recommendation made that I don't think I've ever seen followed:

Create new communication channels and use them. There can be a
temptation to hold back information, especially bad news, until you are
sure. The result can be decreased trust, since people usually can tell
when something is going on. Often the information void will be filled with anxiety-producing rumors.

While it's annoying not having all the facts, I usually make the best of these times by making a game out of it. I gather all the rumors I can before the transition and then compare the rumors with the final reality. There are usually some pretty strange and off base rumors. The most extreme version of this survival strategy I've heard of was from friend of mine who told me their experience in the army. Him and his coworkers would routinely entertain themselves by creating new rumors and monitoring whether and or how long they took to come back to them.

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