In any business and in any department managers will be concerned to reduce doubts and remove fears and uncertainties from them their team. That’s great when the news is positive, but what do you do when it is not so good?
I have learned that in many businesses there are no secrets and trying to keep secrets just creates more problems than it is worth.
The fastest method of communication has always been the rumour mill. I think it breaks Einstein’s laws and is actually faster than the speed of light!
The messages sent and received by the rumour mill are like those on an old radio. They are subject to heavy distortion, some of which may be intentional and some accidental. There are individuals who seek to benefit, if only emotionally, by spreading their distorted view of events.
Who are you thinking of, right now?
If you want to make sure that all right message goes out to your team you need to control the message and the only way to do and that is to get ahead of the game.
There will be times when you don’t want the team to know everything but if you say nothing they’ll make up their own minds. The trick is to give them enough to keep them feeling they are “in the know” without revealing the sensitive information.
This is never more relevant than when you are selling your business.
It is self-evident that you don’t want to tell the whole team you are considering selling. If you do, the next question will be some way towards “What does that mean for me?” which you, as the vendor, cannot answer. What the new owner does with the business and the team is down to them!
The acquirer is quite likely to want to see the business, so you need to tell the team something and the closer to the truth the better.
How about “We are exploring how our businesses might work together?”
It’s a lot more credible than the old “prospective customer” especially when you don’t usually have customer visits.