How to Build a Rumor Factory

Most companies, managers, and leaders are not a fan of rumors. The most effective “creators” of rumors are companies, managers, and leaders. 

That’s an interesting contradiction and it happens because those three entities fail to realize this one key fact: information is the enemy of rumor.

Let me give you one example. 

The owners of a small company are very protective of their company. They have invested perhaps years of sweat and toil to achieve whatever level of success they have. There are “things” that only they can know, “secrets” that must be kept from “the employees.” They rightfully take great pride in their success and while they say their people are their greatest asset you might be hard-pressed to see that sentiment in action. They also hate, hate, hate rumors about their company. They hate it even more when those rumors start from within the company.

The employees however feel as if it’s their company too. They too have invested their time and energy into making the company a success. They want to know “stuff” about their company; things like it’s vision, future plans, maybe even how it’s doing financially. Actually, it’s more than wanting to know, they need to know, their future is tied to the company almost as much as the owners. 

So this gap exists in the organization, the gap between what the owners want their people to know and what their people believe they need to know. That gap will be filled! It will either be filled with accurate information or it will be filled with rumors.

The withholding of even basic information of any kind creates rumors. Poor managers and leaders mistakenly believe that knowledge is power; that’s just not right. Applied knowledge is power and no knowledge can be applied until it is shared.

When you withhold the information your people need to feel as if they are a vital part of the organization, then you, yes you, build a rumor factory.

If you’re a manager or leader and you don’t like rumors then you had best learn to communicate more effectively. You had better learn to share information that your people need to know. When you hold information that could help your people understand their role in the company you create rumors. When you fail to share your thoughts and ideas about the future of the company you create rumors. 

Rumors are created out of a basic human need for information. Information is the enemy of rumor, if you don’t like rumor then fill that basic human need with real information. 

Almost all information currently held tight by managers and leaders could be shared with their teams with no, zero, nada, negative consequences. So share it!

Now, a caveat… There is information that needs to be kept private. “HR Stuff” for instance. For publicly held companies financial information and reports cannot be released to employees before they are available to investors. I don’t think any right-minded person would expect that kind of information to be shared. 

Authentic leaders don’t let those those regulations get in the way of sharing every bit of information they can legally share. While some people think that information is power, authentic leaders know that shared information is powerful. 

Let go of the information and grow your people, and your organization, today.

Living in Daytight Compartments

Some of the regular readers of this blog know that I worked for Dale Carnegie Training for a number of years. It truly was a life changing experience. The training business is a huge business with training companies and independent training “experts” almost as prevalent as people who need the training. 

Despite the never ending attempts, in the 100 years of Dale Carnegie Training’s existence not one single company has been able to duplicate the results of the original Dale Carnegie Course.   The design of the course and the incessant training of it’s instructors truly make it a one of a kind program.

Seventeen years after leaving that organization I still can’t recommend their programs enough. One of the books you receive as part of the Dale Carnegie course is of course, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” It is a timeless classic. The 36 principles written about in that book are an answer to almost any situation a person could find themselves in. While the language in the book is quaint and inclusive by today’s standards it’s principles apply today every bit as much as they did in 1936 when the book was first published.

Most everyone has at least heard of “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” It is an incredible book, a great book and one I highly recommend. It is not however, at least in my opinion, the best book Dale Carnegie wrote. That distinction belongs to a far lessor known book entitled “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.” It was first printed in Great Britain in 1948, and remains in print today. 

It provides a priceless set of principles for overcoming worry and stress in our daily lives. To be sure, it doesn’t speak much to the catastrophic events of our lives but to the everyday events that cause the vast majority of the stress in a person’s life.

One of the most impactful concepts is the principle of Living in Daytight Compartments. That principle basically says we should not worry about what happened yesterday and allow no stress over what might happen tomorrow. 

Yesterday is done, we can learn from it but we can’t change it. Any worry and stress we apply to the past is a total and complete waste of time. Fix what must be fixed, apologize to those you may have offended, resolve to not repeat the stress inducing incident again and MOVE ON! 

Your future success and accomplishments will not be found in the past. Successful people plan for the future but they live in the present. They know that dwelling on the past, and worse, dwelling IN the past, will only hinder their future. Worrying about yesterday crushes our enjoyment of today and lessens the likelihood of succeeding tomorrow. 

The vast majority of the things that could happen never will. That includes the vast majority of the things we waste time worrying about. Seriously, there are enough “things” to worry about today that we certainly don’t need to borrow any from tomorrow. 

When you worry about stuff that might happen, could happen, or might not happen you again crush your enjoyment of today. You also limit your critical thinking skills, the very skills you may need to make tomorrow a successful day. 

Worry pays no dividend, it never has and it never will. The better job you do at living in daytight compartments the more likely it will be that you succeed. 

Successful people learn from yesterday, plan for tomorrow and live in today. Focus on where you’re at and what you’re doing today. That is the surest way to eliminate yesterday’s regrets and ensure tomorrow’s joy. 

Live as if today is the most important day of your life and it just may be!