Ever looked at a picture and it is grainy, difficult to identify and dark – almost looks like it is covered in millions of black dots? It is because it is actually covered in millions of black dots and it stands out – this is why it looks grainy. In camera terms this is referred to as camera or image noise. Image noise occurs when a digital picture is taken in low light conditions and then you often get a grainy look.
Originally “noise” also referred to unwanted electrical fluctuations in signals received in AM radios. Equally then image noise is an undesirable by-product of image capture, which happens in certain circumstances and in certain conditions.
Fortunately with the high-tech camera equipment we have today we can reduce or eliminate most of the grain on an image. And with the right camera settings we can for the most part reduce or completely avoid image noise when we take pictures in low light conditions.
In Organizations we are also confronted with what is called Organizational Noise. Organizational noise are things like political and hidden agendas, a rampant rumor mill, personal agendas and frequent priority shifts to name a few. Similarly to image noise – this behavior is unwanted and it deters an organization from meeting it’s goals and objectives.
How should leaders deal with organizational noise? I think step one is to recognize that organizational noise is part of any culture and like image noise can be reduced, mitigated or even eliminated. To me there are 3 critical actions that can be deployed by leadership:
- A consistent Leadership message – stay laser-focused on priorities and goals, ensuring a strong governance process
- Visible Leadership – nothing like hearing the truth reduces rumors. Regular Town Hall meetings, active and productive Skip Level meetings, informal discussion with employees at all levels are but a few methods to create visible leadership
- Purposeful Change Management – a lot of noise gets created when change occur. A purposeful and transparent change management process, led from the top, dispels rumors and creates an open and transparent environment
How much noise does your Organization create and tolerate?