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Breaking the culture of silence with crucial conversations

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Richard Pound presented to Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire branch in February 2007 on breaking the culture of silence with crucial conversations. Having employees who can openly and honestly talk to others about sensitive and difficult issues around performance, behaviour or failed expectations is the ideal for any organisation, and seems a rather obvious statement. Richard Pound explained why many of us, even with the best intentions, tend to handle these issues badly, or not at all, and provided some advice of how to break this culture of silence, and achieve real results for your organisation.

Richard began the presentation with some familiar scenarios:

''Im sure we have all been in a meeting where the boss has just made a ridiculous, odd or simply naive suggestion that bears no links to reality, but nobody says a word. The idea lingers like an elephant in the room - everyone knows its out there and soon to wreak havoc - but nobody speaks up. Or maybe youve seen someone offer up an idea in a brainstorming session and several people immediately dismiss it. The person says nothing for the rest of the meeting and vows never to share another idea for fear of being rejected. Or maybe there is a corporate untouchable within your organisation someone who bullies others, ignores policies and procedures, is controlling or rude, but is the best performing sales person, or seems to carry favour with senior management, so no one has the courage to confront them.''

But exactly how does silence bring about organisational disaster? In simple terms, silence stops dialogue - the free-flow of information - and that flow of precious ideas is the lifeblood of every successful organisation.

Slides from Richard's presentation are available to download below.


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