How Lack of Communication is Costing Organizations Thousands in Revenue

PROVO, Utah, February 3, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — A new survey from Crucial Learning, a learning company offering communication, performance and leadership courses, shows that workplace conversation failures are both rampant and costly. How expensive? Forty-three percent of respondents believe they waste two weeks or more brooding over an unresolved issue at work. And a surprising one in three employees believe that their inability to speak up at a crucial moment cost their organization at least $25,000.

In addition to astronomical prizes on conversation failures, the December 2021 A Crucial Learning study of 1,100 people found that we resort to silence in alarming times. Participants said the the most expensive the conversation they avoid is when someone disrespects another in the workplace– a conversation that was not even among the costliest conversations in a similar survey conducted in 2016. While this change may indicate greater awareness of inequalities in the workplace, it also shows that awareness does not lead to action. Even when people see harmful disrespect, they don’t speak up.

According to the study, 29% more participants said their workplace culture was more supportive of people speaking up now than they were in 2016. And yet, instead of express, we resort to a host of harmful and resource-draining behaviors, including:

– Complain to others (77%)
– Do extra or unnecessary work (63%)
– Ruminate on the problem (57%)
– Getting angry (49%)

As a result, 43% of respondents say their silence cost more than $10,000while 30 percent tabulated the amount at more than $25,000 and a disturbing 19 percent admitted that their reluctance cost at least $50,000.

The top five crucial conversations people avoid include:

  • When someone isn’t pulling their weight (68 percent)
  • When someone performs below expectations (66%)
  • When someone disrespects another person in the workplace (57% – also identified as the most costly conversation)
  • When someone doesn’t follow proper processes or protocol (53%)
  • When there is confusion about who has a decision (53%)

Beyond the dollar figures, the secondary costs are also alarming. Respondents report that these conversation failures had detrimental effects on employee morale, relationships, company culture, and project timelines and budgets.

Joseph Grenyco-author of the new third edition of the national bestseller Crucial Conversations, argues that the pandemic and its revolutionary effects have amplified the importance of effective communication. Less than half (45%) of respondents say they or others are moderately skilled at having these crucial work-related conversations and 9% say they are very or extremely skilled at having them.

As employee worries have increased and led to great quitting and extreme burnout, organizations must invest in their employees’ interpersonal skills to build strong relationships and ensure bottom line results.

“One of the costliest roadblocks to organizational performance is unresolved critical conversations,” Grenny said. “If you can’t communicate with your leaders and colleagues, you can’t develop the relationships necessary to fight the difficult times we are experiencing today. The ability to engage in dialogue is essential to successfully going through and beyond the pandemic.”

Grenny advises organizations wishing to reduce the costs of missed conversations to train their employees to raise concerns quickly and effectively, including these four tips:

  • Reverse your way of thinking. Most of us decide whether to speak or not by considering the risks of doing so. Those who are best at Crucial Conversations don’t think first about the risks of speaking, they first think about the risks of not speak.
  • Change your emotions. The reason our crucial conversations go wrong is because we are irritated, angry, or disgusted. Others react to these emotions more than to our words. So before you open your mouth, open your mind. Try to see others as reasonable, rational, and decent human beings, a practice that dampens strong emotions and allows you to be more agreeable.
  • Make others feel safe. Unskilled talkers believe that certain topics are meant to make others defensive. Skilled people realize that people don’t become defensive until they feel safe. Start a high-stakes conversation by assuring the other person of your positive intentions and respect. When others feel respected and trust your motives, they feel safe, let their guard down, and start listening, even if the topic is unpleasant.
  • Invite dialogue. After creating a safe environment, voice your concerns and then invite dialogue. Encourage the other person to disagree with you. The best people at Crucial Conversations don’t just come to make their point; they come to learn.

About Crucial Learning
Formerly VitalSmarts, Crucial Learning improves the world by helping people improve themselves. We offer courses in communication, performance and leadership, focusing on behaviors that disproportionately impact results, called critical skills. Our award-winning courses and accompanying bestselling books include Crucial Conversations for Mastering Dialogue, Crucial Conversations for Accountability, Influencer, The Power of Habit, and Getting Things Done.

SOURCE Crucial Learning

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