What Do You Know That You Don’t Speak Of?

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“Mokita”- That which everyone knows and no one speaks of. The Papuans of New Guinea judge the health of any community by the number of “mokitas” that exist within it.

The more “mokitas”, the less healthy.

If you did an honest survey of your organization today, how many Mokitas would you find?

More than that, what are they costing you?

I once worked in an organization that had a “Casual Friday” policy. The company never defined what “casual” meant, but it was assumed that jeans and a nice shirt were acceptable.

However, one employee thought it meant she could wear full pajamas and fuzzy pink bunny slippers. Granted she was in accounting and rarely saw outside clients, yet we all knew this is not what the executives had in mind.

No one said a thing.

Instead three months after she started, they terminated “Casual Friday”. Just like that, poof…gone. People were disappointed. This was something the employees at that office really looked forward to. It was a symbol that we were almost to the weekend, a chance to let our hair down just a bit.

We all knew it was because of her. I was in HR at the time, and my boss flat out told me it was because of her.

No one said a thing.

Employee engagement within the organization shot down. People began to speak of circulating resumes; whispers of discontent ran through the halls. Obviously it wasn’t the only Mokita we had, yet it was such an obvious one!

They changed a whole policy for one person, just to avoid having the conversation, and we all knew it.

That which everyone knows and no one speaks of is a silent killer of morale, engagement and loyalty within organizations. Examples of communication that cause employee disengagement can be found in an article posted yesterday on Ragan's HR Communication website. A culture that feels tied to silence and only dares to whisper does not go far.

So here’s a suggestion: dare to have an Annual Mokita Amnesty day, where you name the Mokitas with no fear of repercussions. I know it sounds scary, maybe even impossible, but think what you could learn!

What would happen within your organization if you all committed to this?

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