Some leaders manage by the grapevine thinking that it is gospel. Some leaders ignore the grapevine at all costs thinking that it is some sort of evil forbidden fruit. I think the grapevine falls somewhere in the middle of gospel and evil forbidden fruit. The way you respond to the grape determines where it falls.
The grapevine is a metaphor used to describe informal communication but most commonly office gossip. The word-of-mouth communication that comes from the grapevine can be a tremendous help in spreading information throughout the organization. The information traveling along the grapevine can also impede many of your initiatives and in some cases be a career ender.Ask these questions when the grapevine is presenting you with a grape:
- What motivation does this person have for giving me the grape?
- How reliable have the grapes given to me by this person been in the past?
- What does this person have to gain by the information contained in the grape?
- How healthy is my overall grapevine at this moment?
- What are the potential consequences of acting on this grape?
- What level of trust do I have with the grape harvester?
The answers to these questions will help you determine if the grape will be sweet and juicy, flat and sour or a tough stiffness. While older berries typically are sweeter, if the grape is old it is really just a raisin and must be thrown out. Don’t allow issues that have been solved in the past continue to grow on your grapevine.
Sometimes the grape looks healthy, sweet and juicy but ends up being flat and sour. When listening to the grapevine ask yourself these questions then trust but validate so that when you bite into the grape you are welcomed with the sweet and juicy flavor it was meant to have and not the tough stiffness that is a raisin.
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