In a book whose theme is closely
related to that of the Great Expectations article, Leslie Perlow
of the Harvard Business School writes about the tendency
in business to keep quiet despite reservations about a
business plan or goal. Is silence killing your company?
Perlow’s book (When You
Say Yes but Mean No: How Silencing Conflict Wrecks
Relationships and Companies... and What You Can Do About
It, Crown Publishing) provides
several examples of employees unwilling to speak up in
the face of poor judgment or practices. A corporate
culture that instills strict obedience without the
opportunity to dissent or question can provide a
foundation for failure.
This issue relates directly
to your communications program – both internal and
external. If you are unwilling to listen to voices of
doubt from within, what will happen when you are
questioned from outside media?
Businesses that foster a
sense of responsibility and teamwork across all levels
promote a communication culture that welcomes both
positive and negative feedback. This kind of culture is
key to a company moving forward while minimizing
missteps along the way.
Similarly, companies that
solicit and actually listen to advice from outside
partners (the outside view in the previous
article) - whether from legal, accounting, or public
relations firms - can gain valuable objective insight
that can minimize future problems and costly repairs.