We all know the parlor game where one person whispers a message into the ear of a second person, who then whispers what he or she heard into the ear of a third person. The game continues in this manner until the last person speaks the message aloud to all the players, who generally howl with laughter because the final message is so totally different from the one that was first conveyed.
The same sort of thing is happening every day at organizations throughout the United States, only it is not a game and it is not funny.
Lack of communication and ineffective communication are contributing to problems in the workplace, where Carl Kaysen (1996) found "sullen, uncooperative workforces," Lester Thurow (1996) said "growing cynicism, mistrust and anxiety [exist] even among those entering the workforce with MBAs," and Roger D'Aprix (1996) painted a picture of employees who have "little or no loyalty to employers." Harris Interactive, part of the Harris Poll, found that only a third of workers have "a clear understanding" of what their organization is trying to accomplish, only 20 percent have a clear "line of sight" between their tasks and their organization's strategic goals, and just 17 percent feel their organization "fosters open communication" (Covey 2004).
There is a disconnect between those at the top and those at the bottom, leading to disengaged workers who cost U.S. businesses between $290 and $350 billion annually Perhaps more disturbing, the …