“Spreading true rumors” is a phrase I picked up when reading Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Advantage – Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business. Lencioni says that the rumor mill is the most pervasive means of communication in most companies – spreading misinformation and causing confusion in the company.
Instead of trying to stop the spread of information by word of mouth, Lencioni suggests that leaders should take advantage of this medium and spread true rumors.
Cascading messages is the behavior we teach to leadership teams running on EOS®, and Lencioni uses the same term. Think of a cascading waterfall – communication flows from the executive leadership team to the next level of management and so on until it reaches all appropriate parties. At the end of every leadership team meeting the leaders review the decisions they have reached, decide the answers to the following questions, and then act accordingly:
- Who is affected by this decision?
- What is the agreed upon content we will all share about this decision? – A single message from all of us.
- Who will communicate it? – All of us.
- How will we communicate it? – In person.
- When will we communicate it? – As soon as possible.
As you master the Issues Solving Track™ (IDS™), you’ll learn to get clear on these questions during the “Solve” step of IDS. Once that happens, the cascading messages item on your Level 10 Meeting™ Agenda is there as a stop gap – a chance before you conclude to make sure we’re all clear and aligned on any communication that needs to happen after the meeting. Until then, take the time to get 100% clear and aligned around any cascading messages before you conclude.
Communicating verbally and in person to your team after your leadership team meetings has the advantage of all people hearing the same message at the same time. They all get to read your body language. They all get to ask questions and learn from those questions and answers. Further, you get the true rumor out before others start spreading actual rumors about what the bosses all were talking about in the meeting.
Many teams don’t spend enough time getting clear on cascading messages in their Level 10 Meeting. They’re eager to move on to the next issue during IDS, or to rate the meeting and get to their next commitment. In your next meeting, I’d urge you to slow down and truly consider whether something decided or discussed in the meeting deserves to be cascaded to your team. Remember – if you don’t do it, the rumor mill will.