N Reasons not to have a Townhall in big corporations

In oder not to let complaints filled up my work and my life,
I can only think like I am studying the corporate behavior as if I were an anthropologist.

Cheap talk. And more cheap talk.

In economics, there is a concept named Cheap Talk. This is the single most crucial thing in explaining corporate behaviour. From its very narrow meaning, when there is better incentive for the guy to lie than to tell the truth, every message is meaningless.

With that in mind, it can be easily understand people talk not to communicate but to show that they talked (“I-warned-you-in-last-email-behaviour”).

Therefore, 70% of the speak is cheap talk. The whole incentive model is wrong. No our team is not doing great. The newly roll up application is not pretty cool. It is OK for google and Facebook to say their have just developed something pretty cool. only because they do.

It is actually a status update. And like most employees, he is puffing how well he has been doing.

But I am not even his manager. Like what is the point of watching Debate of proposed Chief Executives, when you cannot vote.

Not for human

Another thing is, human’s attention for listening only last for consecutive 15-20 minutes as suggested by cognitive scientist. With boring content it can be even shorter.

A town hall lasting for 2 hours with 200 people joining over the globe, at least 12.5 days are wasted for day dreaming.  Some remaining are wasted by the content. Translated to money term, a very modest average salary of $200 people there, omitting any business class tickets, accounted for around $80000.

Again, cognitive science, and common sense.

It is common sense, and scientifically proven that people are less creative and less willing to share under Stressed environment.

It it also common sense, and scientifically proven that people are stressed when they meet people with higher status. When you see your boss’s boss’s bosses and your boss’s boss’s bosses gathered, you are not that comfortable.

Most importantly, why bother on those statistics when we all know it is fake? Even Jamie Dimon’s testimony wasn’t that detailed.

No, there is no value added

After all only something like “Townhall has been organized successfully with xxx participants” being feed up to even higher level management. Is that really important? not as important as “Missed town hall saved a man-month”, or put it realistic, “80k Cost-reducing with 1MM productivity boost”

There is nothing good for the one hosting, nor the one forced to be listening.

The original idea is sharing, let employee feel they are involved and get respected. That just doesn’t work, you dont even have that culture.

Go to beaches for parties and some real 15mins talk, do create more values.


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