October 31, 2014

Can Company Gossips Serve to Inspire?

Default-Image-23

Yes. Absolutely. Unequivocally. Yes.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Company gossips can serve to inspire. They can motivate. They can bring positivity and connection and trust and respect to a company.

I know. I’ve seen it happen.

And, you can see it happen in your own company with a couple of simple steps.

  1. Point them in the right direction.  Point them to see the all the accomplishments they deliver every day to each other and to their customers.  (Note: yes, the customers are theirs.)  The problem with gossips is not the whispers and emails they send. The problem is the content of their messages and their ripples of distrust and disconnection.  Pretty soon, divided is the word that best describes your team. Disconnected is the word that best describes their customer relationship.  Instead, point them in the right direction. Point them to the light. Point them to see the accomplishments in themselves and their colleagues. Then their messages will serve to inspire.
  2. Reward them. That’s right. Reward the right behavior. Reward them for sharing news with you of success and accomplishments, theirs or others.
  3. Celebrate the news. Remember the dread you had with meetings that always included “It’s come to my attention ….” And, it’s followed with some inane reminder of violations of company policy.  Change the content of that section of your meeting. Use the same introduction. Just include accomplishments of the team members that have been shared in private with you. You’ll celebrate that news with everyone.
  4. Make it transparent, open-source. As the leader, set the tone and share your snitches of everyone’s success with everyone. Then open the floor of  the meeting to others doing the same. It will take some encouragement.

But, once started, it turns into a tidal wave.

I’m not talking out of my hat, here. I implemented all of these steps and the result was a monthly feeding frenzy of positivity and support and recognition by peers, leaders, followers, co-leaders.

That feeding frenzy was how we ended our company meetings.

An agenda would be prepared before the start of each meeting. One of the agenda items would be … company snitches. At the appointed time in the meeting, I’d start sharing a few such snitches or gossip items. I’d have these prepared over the month from my observation or from others in the company.

Inevitably, everyone would know who snitched on who. And that was the cool part.

We’re a small company.  Everyone knew. The snitchee knew the snitcher. And, vice versa.  Everyone else knew, too, by the smiles and laughter shared in the meeting.

Inevitably, more snitches would spill forth, spontaneously. One would inspire another. Pretty soon, we had to go around the room 2 or 3 times. Always this section of the meeting exceeded its time limit.  And, the euphoria and energy and enthusiasm exceeded the meeting into the day and the week.

Now, this didn’t happen immediately. It’s a change in habits, thinking, behaviors, meeting agendas. It requires trust. And, that requires tests to confirm it’s genuine.

But, once begun, it’s like a snowball rolling downhill … it gathers its own momentum and grows bigger and stronger, every time.

We have the choice of how and with whom we spend our day.  Gossip and snitching are  just the normal activities of our nature as social beings.  Our choice is their content.

And, your choice as a leader is do you encourage, support, reward and celebrate the strengths of your team? Do you inspire your team? Company gossips can help you reinforce that message and inspire your team.

* * * * *

About the Author:  Zane Safrit’s passion is small business and the operations excellence required to deliver a product that creates word-of-mouth, customer referrals and instills pride in those whose passion created it. He previously served as CEO of Conference Calls Unlimited. Zane’s blog can be found at Zane Safrit. His radio show is at BlogTalk Radio.

9 Comments ▼

Zane Safrit


Zane Safrit Zane Safrit's My passion is small business and the operations' excellence required to deliver a product that creates word-of-mouth, customer referrals and instills pride in those whose passion created it. Zane's blog is Zane Safrit.

9 Reactions

  1. Interesting concept. I never would have imagined a company encouraging gossip. It also sounds like a good way for employees to edit themselves and their thoughts. If they know it will get out to everyone in a meeting, they will think twice about what they snitch about.

    We had a snitch at the last company I worked for and I would have loved to have the chance to dispel her gossip in person. Instead, I would only get second hand info and she didn’t know that I knew what she was saying.

  2. Interesting Zane. You’ve played ‘gossip’ in a beneficial manner.

  3. Hi Zane, For a positive work environment two things are needed: (1) a positive leader, and (2) turning around anyone who spews negativity all the time.

    One negative person can posion the environment for everyone. Thanks for sharing this technique to turn around those “Negative Nellies.”

    — Anita

  4. Very insightful post, Zane, and it’s interesting to see you use the concept of snitching but making sure the content is of a positive nature. There’s one in every bunch, inevitably, so why not feed them their content and let em run with it. Very good idea and it’s also nice to see that it actually works. Funny how the energy in a room can affect everyone – either negatively or positively. Nonetheless it happens so it’s best if you can ensure that its of a positive nature. Positive reinforcement goes a long, long way.

  5. Snitching in the workplace can at times encourage better overall behavior. Without it employee abuse may run rampant. With the fear of snitching or being watched quite often employees that would otherwise be non-conformists will snap into line.

  6. Open communication lines through the whole organization is the key. This is another example on how to treat your business in terms of supply chain management, from suppliers to end customers.

  7. Supply Chain Management? Can you please elaborate more on this Martin? I mean, how this gossips become and example in treating supply chain management.

  8. Interesting thoughts, Zane. Who could have imagine, ‘gossips’ can serve a noble purpose in business.

  9. If you see your organization in terms of a link of the supply chain between the raw material source (supplier) and the end customer, gossip and internal communication is important if you want to have a great flow through the pipeline. Your co-workers could be your internal customers. If they start to nag and talk about stuff, it could spread outside the organization and your customers could start asking questions about the quality of your products and services, the price level and wondering about the delivery time. Maybe I have a too broad and “holistic” approach to business, I don’t know, but I think it is important to try to see the whole picture. I will continue to chew these ideas and I want to publish something on this topic someday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>



Compare your business to the industry - Try our new tool