Recently, we held a webinar with VitalSmarts about Crucial Conversations and its effect in the workplace. I was astonished to learn about the staggering cost of silence in an organization. As Chase McMillan pointed out, there are two immediate responses to conversations involving high stakes, strong emotions, and opposing views: violence and silence. "Silence starves the discussion; it decreases the collectively IQ of the group. There is less buy-in for the discussion,“ Chase noted.
According to a VitalSmarts survey, the problem is much more pervasive than one would think. 72% of workers fail to speak up when a fellow worker fails to pull their weight. 68% don't speak up when they see someone disrespected, and 55% fail to speak up when there is confusion about decision rights. Silence is not only pervasive, but it's also extremely costly. Each failed conversation costs an average of $7500 in time and resources, and employees waste seven days or more.