In planning Thoughtwave for the start of 2020, I decided that a large share of content would focus on communication among leaders and within companies. There were five key reasons why.

  1. Communication is the cornerstone of people’s progression and your company’s success.
  2. Communication is the most talked about and least understood skill among leaders.
  3. A leader that believes they have mastered communication, individually or within their company, is a leader who favors delusion ahead of discipline.
  4. Communication is complex.
  5. Communication is what separates exceptional leaders from those that are average.

Minds Run Wild

Fact is, that conspiracy theories are alive and well and living within your organization.

According to Merriam-Webster, a conspiracy theory is “a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators.”

Our minds love to fill in the blanks. When minds are left to wander, or wonder, they run wild. Here are some examples.

  • Elvis is still alive.
  • Area 51 is researching and experimenting on aliens.
  • The chamber behind Mount Rushmore holds some big secrets.
  • The Bermuda Triangle is one of the two places on Earth at which a magnetic compass points towards true north.

The assassination of John F. Kennedy was the catapult for modern conspiracy-theory. It was an improbable event that Americans desperately wanted explained, no matter how concerning the truth. There are dozens of theories and documentaries explaining JFK’s passing and they’re only advanced by the fact that an absolute truth is still unknown.

Netflix cashed in on the conspiracy theory surrounding the death of Jimmy Hoffa in their recent hit The Irishman. The movie became the biggest theatrical release both in the United States and internationally.

While conspiracy theories may be profitable for moviemakers, they have no place or purpose in your company.

Communication Requires Commitment

Your people are searching for answers. They want to understand what’s happening around them. If you don’t tell them, they’ll make up their own version of the truth.

On the flip side of understanding, it’s important to note that communication doesn’t mean telling everyone everything. Like shoes, a blouse or pants, communication should be sized to the person or group of people receiving the message.

Questions to Consider

Here are two questions to consider when you favor communication ahead of conspiracy.

  1. What generates curiosity?
  • Unknowns
  • Rumors
  • Misstatements
  • Avoidance of questions
  • Generalizations
  • Silence
  1. What minimizes conspiracies?
  • Shared truths
  • Facts

The Discipline of Communication

The truth can be uncomfortable. It does, however, provide the opportunity to state the facts ahead of letting people randomly fill in the blanks.

Conspiracy theories create chaos. Communication creates the interaction between information and people. The relationship between the two allows leaders to minimize conspiracies, maximize truth and accelerate the speed to communication effectiveness within your company.


On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being ideal, where would you rate the effectiveness of communication within your department, area or company?

Why did you rate it that way?

What would it take to improve the effectiveness of your communication?

What’s your action plan to make it happen?

Final Thought

If communication is consistently random, what would lead you to believe it’s directed by the discipline of a strategy?

P.S. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.