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March 20, 2013

Don’t Keep Secrets When You’re in the Same Lifeboat!

Filed under: Performance Pro6:00 am

Just a few weeks ago, we watched with dropped jaws the news of the Carnival cruise ship, Triumph, as it was being towed to safety after a fire occurred in an engine room.  The tow back to shore lasted longer than the cruise itself.  Passengers shared their horror stories with the media about the bathroom facilities not working properly causing a stench onboard, having to spend time on the deck in sweltering heat, the scarcity of food and fresh water, and boredom.  Well, it has happened again, and again, and again!  Just last week three more ships in Carnival’s fleet – Elation, Dream, and now, Legend – have found themselves in less than entertaining, and certainly not name-worthy situations.  Though these three recent incidents were not as colossal as Triumph’s problems, it still comes down to the fact that their passengers were greatly inconvenienced.

According to CNN.com Carnival announced they would be conducting “a comprehensive review” of all their ships after the crippling Triumph incident.  While this is a positive step in the right direction, they will have to do much more to restore confidence and build loyalty in current and prospective passengers.

What I found interesting was that some passengers said their chief complaint was the lack of communication on the ship.  They reported the captain shared only limited information with them.  This made me think about how important strong communication is within an organization.   Clear, straight-forward communication would have benefited the passengers on the ship the same way it does with the employees of an organization.

Think about how your employees would react if you didn’t share your organizational mission and goals with them.  What if you didn’t have essential conversations with them or give them regular feedback through ?  Most likely they would lack direction, become complacent and unproductive, and finally morale could become intolerable.  Senior management has a responsibility to make sure each employee can see with clarity the big picture.  Only then will each employee be able to appropriately identify the action steps they must take to contribute to the central organizational objective.  By encouraging individual managers and supervisors to promote transparency through good communication in the organization, they will help build employees’ confidence in their ability to lead them in a structured and efficient manner.  Remember, employees of today are potentially your company’s leaders of tomorrow.

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