How many times have you been visiting another office or walking with a colleague down the hall and walked past a few people talking. Not even really talking but having quiet conversations with deliberate low tones and whispers. Two people talking in an inconspicuous dark corner.

I don’t know about you but when I walk by people who are interacting like this I get the sense they are talking about their manager. Maybe the company. How Sue or Dave is getting away with murder or how the company doesn’t do right by XYZ (I am self-conscious so many times I even think they are talking badly about me… go figure).

Have you noticed their body language? The change in the way they look as if they are hiding whatever it is being said. Do you notice how they may go silent or stop when you or anyone else in the same department walks by?

With the job market, business and employee disatisfaction being what it is, I think you may notice more and more of this. I believe that the more whispers and conversations held within and outside of the office halls is evidence of the culture of an organization.

The more you see closed conversations between tight nit groups; people huddling so no one else can hear them, these actions can show just how open, closed or collaborative your culture truly is or is not.

Next time you walk from your cube or office pay attention. Begin to count the number of people whispering. If you notice from day to day the number of people and groups increasing, it could be a strong sign of a closed and even potentially negative organizational culture.

What do you see when you walk through your company?

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