The Cost of Silence in the Workplace: Discussing the Undiscussable

The Conference Board of Canada, July 5, 2016
Recorded Webinar
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Undiscussables are just that: issues, thoughts, and feelings that stay below the surface of conversations and don’t get talked about, except perhaps with those we trust. Rarely do undiscussables get raised in business meetings. When we do talk about them, it’s usually to vent our frustrations with one or two people we know we can trust -maybe over coffee, in the washroom or in the parking lot. In most cases we avoid topics that might embarrass us or anyone else. We don't say things we think may be career limiting. But what happens when the prevailing workplace culture of silence prevents essential information from surfacing and getting into the hands of the decision makers?

All too often, well-intentioned people choose not to speak up or make incorrect assumptions that cause mistakes ranging from small gaffes to royal mess-ups. When employees stay safe and quiet, the organization runs the risk of making important decisions through misunderstandings or misinformation, and may even do so without, and exploring other potential options. How people habitually handle conversations is one of the most reliable predictors of organizational effectiveness. So how can you be sure your workplace culture allows for discussion of the undiscussible and that your management team has the information they need to make effective decisions to meet your long-term strategic goals?

Webinar Highlights

Join Loretta Brill as she examines how certain behaviours, attitudes, and underlying assumptions can contribute to risk, regardless of the formal checks, balances, and controls your organization might possess. During this 60 minute webinar, Loretta will explore:

  • two simple tools you can use to discuss the "undiscussables",
  • creating cultures of transparency and accountability
  • fostering accountable conversations and partnerships where views are openly shared and assumptions are challenged at all levels,
  • empowering managers and employees to speak candidly about concerns and innovative ideas.

About Loretta

Photo of Loretta Brill

Loretta Brill is the Chief Executive Officer and founding partner of Nxknowledge Corporation. Over the past 25 years, Loretta has worked in partnership with her clients in designing and implementing strategic processes to help boards, leaders and employees come together, sense and actualize emerging futures, find solutions to complex difficult dilemmas and craft successful strategies.

In all Loretta’s work, she focuses on supporting leaders to learn how to have candid, productive conversations, where undiscussables are raised and assumptions are challenged in order to develop shared practices that bring value to their clients and stakeholders. More recently, she has been involved in the design and facilitation of programs that assist in having productive conversations with staff members who may be struggling with mental health and addiction challenges. She has worked with executives, managers and staff in provincial and federal governments as well as for profit organizations.

Loretta holds a Master’s degree in psychology from the University of Calgary. She has held faculty positions at the Health Leadership Institute at DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University and the Canada School of Public Service and has co-authored a research paper for the Royal Commission for the Walkerton Inquiry entitled: Why do people and Organizations Produce the Opposite of What They Intend? She has spoken at a number of conferences on this topic. Her clients have included CIBC, Petro Canada, Employment and Service Development Canada (ESDC), Ontario Ministry of Education, Training, Colleges & Universities Rockwood Pigments, Royal Bank, Canada School of Public Service, Sunnybrook Health Science Center, The Conference Board of Canada, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Healthcare of Ontario Pension (HOOPP), Ministry and Natural Resources and Canadian Museum of Civilization and OPSEU Trust.

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