A Week Back… Are You Breaking Through the Silence?

It’s been a week since we spoke at HRWest 2020 and we’re grateful for the insights gained through interactions with so many Human Resources professionals. What a rich exchange of best practices in overcoming organizational silence that often prevents goal attainment for teams and individuals alike!

A vast majority of the people we spoke to acknowledged that silence is not always a good thing.  

This is especially true when decisions need to be made, problems need to be solved, and strategies need to be developed.

Organizational silence masks two formidable obstacles that are hard to overcome: 

  1. Resistance stemming from the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of people
  2. Barriers – limiting factors in org structure, technology, systems, and processes that inhibit change 

At the HR West conference, we discussed three vital areas (we refer to it as the C3 System) to break the silence and create dialogue that is essential for any successful transformational change. 


Defined as seeking and being open to alternatives, perspectives, and opportunities.  When we embrace this trait, we don’t take things at face value, we look to do things more effectively and with a greater level of engagement.  

As a curious team member, we pay attention to how we do things and strive to help see things in other ways – what could provide a better result or make things more impactfully.  Historically, Stephen Covey taught that seeing a 3rd Alternative – not a compromise on “my way” or “your way”, but rather “our way”.  It’s a powerful approach.


Never taking things at ‘face value’ is the essence of curiosity, and that tends to lead people to loftier, collective goals rooted in the why. Why we do things and what is the desired outcome? This builds cohesion and commitment.  

Simon Sinek observed that Dr. Martin Luther King didn’t lead by saying, “I have a plan.”  He led through a compelling vision that was expressed as, “I have a dream.” If people don’t understand the why, they will seldom unite themselves to a cause that takes them out of their comfort zone.

High performance teams have members who strive for mutual success, and these teams know that it is always the right thing to ask “why?”  What matters most? What could WE have done better? How can we improve on the current state to fulfill a larger mission or goal?  


Clarity is about understanding where we are going; why we are going there; how we will get there; it points to obstacles that stand in the way and reveals key success measures to evaluate results.

Having clarity and focus, we can harness the power of alignment.  In his classic book What Leaders Really Do, John Kotter noted that most organizations don’t need better management, they need better alignment. As we unitedly target our goals, and accelerate action – we, our companies, and our customers all win.

What next? 

  • ASK for clarity and check for understanding constantly. 
  • LISTEN and watch for clues that you are aligned, and everyone has all tools and barriers are reduced or removed.
  • AGREE on the how and the when.  

By leveraging these steps, you will generate curiosity, embrace challenges, and achieve clarity.  This power will break through the silence, strengthen trust, and accelerate success for your teams, your company, and your clients.  

Interested in exploring more and learning about the C3 System?  Reach out today and let’s begin the journey!

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