We’ve all been there.

You’ve been told that the organization believes in open lines of communication. The open lines where everyone can be heard; where the things you say will fall on the ears of someone that cares. However, more often then not, open lines of communication are open, but no one is listening or taking action.

How much do you think people care about an organization, if they feel no one is listening to them?

Or better yet, how much do you think they care about the organization’s customer(s)?

Scary isn’t it!

What’s the solution?

Start a conversation.

Start having small conversations with the heart of the organization, the people that work there. You want to the people to create a healthy dialogue, with not only their co-workers, but with leadership. You want people to speak their mind and be able to ask questions that will help move the organization forward.

If you run into a problem, it’s better to run into during one of your conversations, then online via a Facebook Post, a Tweet, or worst, a blog post that goes viral.

Many people don’t want to have those conversations, because they’re scared to hear the truth. But if you’re able to uncover problems and solve them, you’re one step closer to building a better organization.

People want open lines of communication.

They want to be heard, they want others to listen to what they have to say

They want to feel as if they are part of something that is actually making a difference. If you start having those small conversations, where people can display their candor, ideas or frustrations, you’re on your way to building something that can make a difference.

There is no one, right way to create open lines of communication. But you can start by talking with the people in your organization.

Starting something is not an event; it’s a series of events. – Seth Godin, Poke the Box

Maybe you start something after work, during lunch, or maybe the last 30 minutes of the work day; something as simple as having an open discussion with a small group of people.

But there’s a catch to creating open lines of communication.

You may not like what you hear.

You’ll start to discover that most people are actually considerate, they want to be part of the organization, and those people want to make a difference.

But you’ll also find people that don’t want anything to do with you or the organization. These people only show up to those small conversations, to sabotage them, because their life sucks and you and or the organization are to blame.

What do you do with a person that’s trying to sabotage your open conversations?

Do you report them?

Do you listen to them?

Do you sabotage them?

You should have an open, one on one conversation with them.

You need to discover why they feel the way they do and you need to care. You may or may not have the answers, but you will have a better understanding of the situation then if you just ignored the person.

You want to have that one on one conversation before things get out of hand; before they do something to sabotage the company, your customers or even worse, your brand on the internet. Remember if it’s on the internet it has to be true.

It’s not until after you have that open conversation that you will discover what’s going on. That person may turn out to be the organization’s best asset, it’s strongest player, and you would have never known that without having that one on one conversation with them.

But your open conversation could take a turn for the worse.

Maybe during the conversation you have an epiphany and realize that the problem is you and the organization. What steps will you take to correct the problem?

During that one on one conversation the employee may tell you they’re overwhelmed and you may have to find something else for them to do or help them overcome it. Or maybe they discover through their conversation with you, that they are no longer a solid fit for the organization and would like to move on to other ventures.

Finding answers with open lines of communication.

You’ll never discover any of these answers until you open the lines of communication at your organization.

Will it be easy?


But neither was stepping into the role that you are in right now.

It will feel uncomfortable at first, you will cringe at what people have to say. But if you’re up to the task of creating a better organization, then you must have open lines of communication.

Open lines of communication that will help your team members become better, which in turn, helps the organizations become better and move towards a common goal.

Open lines of communication will help build trust.

And when you have trust and open lines of communication, you can get out of the way and let the people do something that matters.

What are you doing to open up the lines of communication?

[Photo Credit: Tom Wigley]