Gossip is Anti-Agile and Anti-Productive

Agile is about transparency, disclosure, and openness. Agile promotes open and candid communication between the development teams and the business. Frankly, Agile can never succeed without candid communication and feedback. If you’ve been around a business for long enough you know intimately how gossip works in the work environment. It’s simply counter-productive.

“Gossip kills possibility. It kills the business, or at least its real potential, which is essentially the same thing. We end up working harder to undermine our fellow workers than we work to make the business work out in the market place. Competitors couldn’t possibly thwart the possibility of our success to the degree we thwart it ourselves.” – Dan Pallotta

So what is Dan’s secret to killing the gossip-game?

Make ruthlessly honest communication, at all levels, priority number one.

For Dan and the rest of us, it seems that the true potential cannot be realized unless communication is placed above everything else. That has to start from the top. A culture of communication cannot sprout from the bottom up. And it could never be sustained that way. Embedding good communication throughout an organization means much more than setting an example. Being a servant leader maybe?

I’m not always too close to this, being an outside and objective viewer of things, but I can easily see very quickly how it infects organizations inside and out. Keep honest communication at the top of the backlog. That’s exactly where it needs to stay at all times.

[HT: Harvard Business Review]

11 Responses to “Gossip is Anti-Agile and Anti-Productive”

  1. john
    June 13, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    i like this post.

    • peter
      June 13, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

      Good reminder for any team.

  2. Tommy Ball
    June 13, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    So true, yet goes unmentioned so often!

    • peter
      June 13, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

      Fo sho. Only positive attitudes here.

  3. Chris Chan
    June 13, 2011 at 7:55 pm #

    “That has to start from the top.” – to clarify this means a collaborative culture starts from the top, not how messages are passed down. Communication should be ‘flat’ and *not* be hierarchical in nature starting from the top – ie messages that get casacaded down the hierarchy. Often the message gets diluted or even worse not passed down.

    • peter
      June 13, 2011 at 11:29 pm #

      Well said. Agreed.

  4. Robb Dempsey
    June 16, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    Honesty can be hard, but if you’re not being honest “why are you here?” right? I think honest and constructive comments are part of the foundation of a collaborative culture.

  5. Tommy Ball
    October 10, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    Amen Peter!!! I’d love to see some of the “powers that be” operate with transparency…for 1 single day!!! Now that would be fun to watch!!!!

    • peter
      October 10, 2011 at 10:24 am #

      Trying to change the culture… gossip is a culture thing!


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