We had a discussion at an Inner Circle Meeting this week, around the idea of how far to go in communicating with your staff about how your business is doing in this tough economy. The answer seemed to be “not far enough.” Here’s why.

Your employees are being inundated with messaging from all sides about how bad things are. Whose message do you want them believing, yours or the media’s? Here’s how inundated your people are. As I was reading the comics in the Commercial Appeal this morning, a personal Rockefeller Habit of mine if there ever was one, I noticed that even “Hagar the Horrible” and “Pearls Before Swine” are commenting on how tough times are. If that’s the case, you have to regularly communicate the real state of affairs in you business just to keep up.

Constant, transparent communication on how things are and what to do about it is important. It keeps the team connected and contributing to improvements, instead of dwelling on bad news. Constant, with real numbers, transparent so they can believe it and see your head is not in the sand. And even showing a little vulnerability on your part, admitting that this is an uncertain time, works in your favor. Set a direction and ask for help. Then go for it.

Don’t let your people use the tough times as an excuse for poor performance.