Talk in organizations can help mobilize action. Communication in an organization fuels its processes and facilitates coordination. For organizations to benefit from talk-oriented action, they do several things such as incorporating multi-level/multi-functional participation. Several years ago, a work-out process was common. It was a way of exchanging ideas. It brought together people of all ranks, managers, engineers, line workers and secretaries. For example, small-group brainstorming would be encouraged. Plenary sessions where people contributed ideas on improvements were common in organizations that encouraged action as opposed to too much talk. The business leader would at the end of the talk decide on one idea that would immediately be implemented. Customers and suppliers, for example, would be brought together in a room to discuss a problem or an opportunity. Action on the best ideas would be taken. The work–out process helped people talk about real problems and therefore arrive at real solutions. A simple talk would lead to action. It facilitated ideas to be exchanged in a simple understandable way.
Presentations, sessions and discussions enable participants to share and understand simple ideas, processes and structures. Through them, idea owners can relay powerful messages in a simplified way. Although talk without action is criticized, talk is important. Ideas and processes need to be presented and need to be presented well. More importantly, they should be implemented through action.
Talk as a substitute for action
Most organizations have been accustomed to using talk as a substitute for action. Managers have at times been involved in too many projects that they actually spend too much time making decisions without following-up. This scenario is driven by desire to build functional expertise and to gain recognition for saying smart things. The tendency to move towards a project-based structure arose as a result explicit comparison of a firm’s management practices with other firms.
The mystique of complexity
Too much talk may lead to inaction. Employees who have a tendency to talk much with action will for example plan meetings and produce reports but will not actualize most things. Some people think that those who talk a lot are actually good at their jobs. Many people think that complex ideas, structures and processes are better than simple ones. They go ahead to say smart things and talk a lot using complex sentence structure and analysis in discussing organizational issues. They seek to impress through the use of jargon.
There are overemphasized notions about the mission statement, core values and other image-enhancing instruments of an organization. They do not truly reflect what actually happens in the organization though they may help steer a few organizations to success.
Action as a substitute for talk
Most organizations are trying their best to discourage talk among employees and invoke action. For example, organizations are avoiding outsourcing consultants. Alternatively, they are developing a system of promoting from within the organization. These people have full knowledge of organization’s work processes and they have practiced them. Organizations are also trying to practice simplicity. They are also not rewarding unnecessary complexity. The language promoted is a simple, direct and clear one. Organizations are also using language that is action oriented. Follow-up processes are constantly carried out to ensure talk leads to action. Organizations also avoid a culture of criticisms or excuses why things cannot be done. Objections are reframed into problems that need to be overcome, not to be attempted. Organizations are also reducing levels of hierarchy. Top managers are also involved in project implementation and product development. As such, they become aware of issues affecting line workers as well as middle managers.