Finweek English Edition - - MANAGEMENT -

Carl, a di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions at a large phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany, sees of­fice gossip as an im­por­tant com­mu­ni­ca­tion tool.

He ad­mits that he has both lis­tened to and fed news into gossip chan­nels. “Those who were the most ac­tive gos­sipers were the gate­keep­ers of com­pany in­for­ma­tion,” he says. “It’s use­ful to take ad­van­tage of th­ese peo­ple and put your own in­for­ma­tion in the f low, even adding some pos­i­tive com­pany spin.” When his f irm was ne­go­ti­at­ing a move from its cur­rent premises to an­other site 8km away, Carl men­tioned to a few of the gos­sipers the pos­si­bil­ity of re­lo­ca­tion and t he l i ke­li­hood t hat staff would re­ceive a bonus if it all went well. He wanted to gauge re­ac­tion. When he heard pos­i­tive feed­back, he grad­u­ally fed more in­for­ma­tion about the move and its ben­e­fits.

“It proved suc­cess­ful – by the time we pub­li­cised the move, most peo­ple were ac­cus­tomed to it, and we averted the need for a long con­sul­ta­tion process,” he says. Carl strongly be­lieves that this sort of com­mu­ni­ca­tion is crit­i­cal. “Ig­nor­ing it or treat­ing it as non­sense with­out hear­ing what’s be­ing said is neg­li­gent, in my view,” he says.

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