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The Royal Family Provides an Example of What Happens When People Are Left Without Information

Before I even start with this post, let me say this. As an individual dealing with a cancer diagnosis, I support Kate Middleton’s decision to do whatever she feels the need to do.

I am not criticizing how it was handled, the announcement’s timing, or anything else. I am using this example we all just witnessed as an opportunity to learn about the importance of communicating with your team at work.

We witnessed a classic case of something I’ve written about before. Faced with a lack of official information, people will look for unofficial information to fill in the blanks, or they’ll just make it up in their own heads. We don’t like not knowing something when we want to know it. It makes us feel uncomfortable. We will do just about anything to ease that discomfort, including drawing conclusions you might not like and may not be accurate.

Then, many of us will act on those conclusions. If I conclude an announcement about cutting costs is a precursor to layoffs, I might leave before that happens. I might tell others that is why I’m leaving, and before you know it, you’ve got a mass exodus of talent on my hands even though layoffs were never considered.

You didn’t communicate that, though. You left your team to fill in the blanks on their own. The people who follow the Royal Family were left without further information about Kate after her original surgery. We can argue about what information they were entitled to, and I’d agree they weren’t entitled to any. Still, we saw a large group of people filling in the blanks with some of the wildest conspiracy theories we’ve seen anywhere when no information was forthcoming.

Imagine what happens on Teams or Slack about your company when information is unavailable.

 

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