What is the Vegas Rule, why is it important and when is it used?
The basis for trusting communication
The Vegas rule says, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” The rule sounds very simple and may remind you of a bachelor party in Las Vegas where the circle of friends decides to keep everything that happens in the coming hours quiet. In various feature films this motto has already been addressed, but also for many real organisations and situations the Vegas rule is very important. It is the basis for trust. Without trust, communication between colleagues and between employees and superiors is disturbed. Who worries that opinions, feelings, statements are used at a later time against one, will hold himself or herself back with great probability when expressing these thoughts.
The application of the Vegas Rule
In practice, there are various scenarios and situations in which the Vegas Rule is used:
- In the annual appraisal interview, where supervisors and employees not only discuss the results and performance of the past year, but also plans, considerations and wishes for the coming year.
- At the retrospective in Scrum, where the development team including Scrum Master and, if necessary, the Product Owner discuss the optimisation of the cooperation.
- For project reviews as a follow-up of a project phase or a project.
- In lessons learned sessions that often take place at the end of a project or event in order to learn from the past for the future.
- For comment opportunities on company-internal collaboration platforms.
In practice, the Vegas Rule is often not explicitly mentioned; this could also be a reason why it is not particularly well known as such. The mere mention of the rule – in conjunction with the personal experience of the communication participants – can contribute to a trusting setting. However, all participants should also know that even a selective softening of trust can have far-reaching consequences. In addition, there are also organisational or written formats to agree and maintain silence, such as confidentiality and competition clauses in employment contracts or so-called non-disclosure agreements between companies and their representatives.