a ‘Culture of
Speaking Up’ will
When ‘Speaking Up’ is not welcomed in your organisation then
you are likely heading for a disaster.
hen problems arise, people
recognise them and sound the
alert. Well, that’s what we would
expect. But the truth is they are often
ignored, paving the way for organisational
cultural flaws which stifle complaints and
concerns rather than encouraging them.
To prevent disasters, organisational culture
can be changed through values, leadership
Culture Change is not a buzzword. It is
change through commitment; through small
acts done daily, which are supported or
discouraged in daily situations. What started
as Culture Change becomes the routine way
people act and make decisions. It becomes
the new normal!
Let’s review eight steps that will create a
culture for Speaking Up.
1. risk identification by leaders
Make sure key risks are identified
and understood by everyone in the
organisation, along with the belief that
they have a role in preventing them. This
is the vital first step in getting everyone
comfortable with their responsibility to
Speak Up and act when made aware of
If not, individuals won’t Speak Up when
they see potential high-risk situations.
They’ll think that if they do raise potential
problems, they could be sidetracking
other key priorities, like reaching a
deadline, and keep quiet.
2. maintaining open dialogue
Make your focus about finding and fixing
18 Australian Window Association Autumn 2016
problems, whatever they are. And, to
get results, make it a responsibility of
teamwork, rather than just a potential
performance risk. Praise and recognise
instances when individuals Speak Up and
tie it to business results.
3. trust in leaders all the time
Some workers decide to keep quiet
because they feel their actions won’t be
considered, or, even worse, they fear job
security. They won’t trust their leaders to
fix the problems.
The only way to change this is for leaders
to build trust among their teams, so team
members know there is a sincere interest
in knowing about problems and a real
commitment to fixing them. They’ve got
• Speak regularly about how important
it is to learn about issues.
• Demonstrate their commitment by
taking the time to listen and follow up