I was talking with a committee about the launch of their new program. When they agreed to own the design and delivery of the program, they did so with a few assumptions and implied agreements. They told the employees what they were working on and the overall parameters they would follow. The employees seemed interested and positive.
Along the way, the senior leaders changed a few things and in one case, made what the committee had told the employees untrue. The committee members were upset and considered quitting the program.
As is often the case, miscommunication was at the heart of this issue. For two weeks the committee members quietly stewed and their disappointment was palpable.
When they finally talked with leaders, they found our that while there were a couple of changes to the design of the program, these changes were not going to have the negative effect they feared. The committee felt a sigh of relief and were once again mentally on board.
The reason I share this story is because I think it is a shame that two weeks went by before the conversation took place that would resolve the issue. Sometimes the needed conversation never happens because we assume that we cannot have an impact or we assume that what we have heard is correct.
What's eating you? I have found that at least 50% of the time, the issue is more miscommunication than anything. This is not always the case, but often. What a shame to waste time and effort - and engagement - while these issues linger in the workplace air.
Start the conversation. State that you want to make sure you are understanding the decisions and intentions correctly. Ask clarifying questions that ensure that you are not jumping to conclusions or that help the decision makers consider all relevant information. Share your concern and how you think changes will impact employees. Take a stand - in a productive and balanced way. Don't start off the meeting saying you are ready to defect from the project team, but share that you are worried about the change and want to make sure you have the facts.
Management is a proactive act. Initiate. Don't wait. The absence of action = absence of management.