Vocal culture is where information flows freely. People speak up when they see a need to. Information is not withheld, risks are communicated and concerns are talked about.

A lot of companies think they have a vocal culture when in reality they don't. When a company has a vocal culture, there is no need for anonymous surveys or town-hall like meetings to gather feedback. Feedback comes in organically and continuously in casual settings. The leaders in such organizations are unpretentious and respond to feedback well.

For a vocal culture to work, the most important thing is to respond to feedback in a simple way. Too often, the problems are simple when they start, and the adjustment needs to be simple. When leaders don't respond to feedback, two things happen - employees don't care about giving feedback anymore, and the chasm between leadership's perception of things versus reality widens. This makes for a cultural mess.

Too often leaders find themselves having to turn around an environment that has lost trust in its leadership. If you find yourself in such a spot, the best you can do is to go back to the basics and try to create a vocal culture. When employees start giving feedback and continue to do so, it indicates early signs that things are heading in the right directions.

Does your company has a vocal culture?