Let’s recap… the past few weeks we have learnt how to overcome three deadly types of silence:

#1 – Fear punishment or harsh consequences
#2 – Self-doubt
#3 – Following the crowd (aka bystander apathy)

Have you been able to shift the culture in your home or workplace to one of more openness or honesty? If yes, well done. If not, that’s okay… just keep at it, it can take a while. You can almost think of it like weeding a garden. Some weeds come out easily if they haven’t taken root yet, while others can take more effort to remove because they have grown some serious roots. This last Key Step will really help to make a difference, so let’s get on with overcoming…

Deadly silence (#4)

Silence is unhealthy and even deadly when we don’t speak up because we:

1. Don’t want to put in the effort. In the retail industry, it is well known that only 4% of unhappy customers complain. Most simply keep quiet and don’t do business with you again. Why? Because it takes effort to go against the grain and time to voice your concerns. And, often when you talk up about work issues, like lack of processes or procedures, the responsibility for implementing them falls on you. Can we afford to remain silent and put our heads in the sand? Of course not, we need to take Key Steps and…

2. Be the difference. Remember that if you are not part of the solution, you are likely part of the problem. And when you ignore a problem long enough, it can multiply 10 fold. We all know the old adage that ‘a stitch in time, saves nine’. Remind yourself of that the next time you are tempted to fall silent on issues that really matter. I am not suggesting that you talk up about everything going on around you – some things are just not significant enough and we know it’s wise not to sweat the small stuff. But where is counts, put in the effort for ‘one stitch’, you could well save the other nine.

A good example of this came from a client, who recently told me about a problem she had noticed with her company’s quality control system. She spoke-up about it to management and despite the fact that no-one seemed to be really listening, she persisted to put in the effort and outline her concerns. A few months later, there was an incident of fraud and the only reason she wasn’t implicated is because she had put in the effort to highlight her concerns to management. Naturally, she had to take a lie detector test and go through the same processes all employees were subject to, but she felt comforted by the fact that her GM knew she wasn’t involved. In fact, her GM commented that he had newfound respect for her and really wished he had listened. Putting in the effort paid off. Take a leaf out of my client’s book and…

“be the difference that makes the difference