We’re a Silicon Valley company, so we have a very full kitchen. I hired a new head of business operations, and she decided we were going to switch out the vendors. There was a week when the supply went very low because the next vendor was coming in a couple of weeks later to kind of set up. Because we hadn’t said anything about it, and the food was starting to run low, people started saying, “There’s layoffs coming; bad things are going to happen.” I actually had to say in an all-hands meeting, “Guys, it’s just the nuts in the kitchen. That’s it.” But people look for symbols, and they look for meaning where maybe there isn’t any. So now we’re overcommunicating. You have to talk about the little stuff as well as the big stuff, just to make sure folks aren’t running away with ideas.
I can't stress this enough... if you leave an information vacuum in your organization, people will fill it... often with unfounded rumors and speculation. That's why sweating the small stuff, and leaning toward "over-communication", is essential if you are a leader. People will interpret actions based on their own worries and concerns, and they will infer important meaning even when you deem certain issues and actions largely inconsequential. Remember that all eyes are on you as a leader. You may not intend to signal or engage in symbolism, but people are taking away meaning from even the seemingly small actions and issues that you may not think warrant much of your time and attention.