Building an Organization That Works, Part 2

Doug Hoffman Blog 0 Comments

This is the 2nd part of an ongoing series–if you haven’t, we recommend you read the first part to set the context and get full value for yourself.

We begin where we left off:

Please consider for yourself what works and doesn’t work in your organization. How is your organization structured to support effectiveness? Innovation? Identification of potential obstacles or issues? Do members of your organization experience themselves as being responsible for the results of the organization as a whole?

It is valuable to consider by what format or structure an organization can most effectively and reliably facilitate access to the collective knowledge of the members of the organization. We assert that one key element of a successful organization is a systematic approach to communication. Every one who must be included in a given conversation is included, and, in a way, that minimizes inefficiencies while maximizing collaboration.

We have seen organizations where there is no cooperation, no collective commitment to a common objective. We have also seen organizations where the objectives held in common become a call for more than just cooperation, but for true partnership. Integrity is access to the possibility of extraordinary performance.

Let us look at systems of communication as a key to performance:

It will serve us to operate from the premise that every conversation is an opportunity to insert error into the system, and that the higher the number of conversations that take place, the more difficult it is to manage communication (i.e., remember the game “Telephone”).

The formula for the number of possible conversations in a given project is (N x (N-1))/2=C.  N represents the number of individuals involved, and C the total number of conversations. Thus, the total number of conversations grows at a rate which is almost exponential.

If N=2 then the total number of possible conversations is 1.

If N=5 then C=10

If N=100 then C=450

If N=1000 then C=499,999

You can see how quickly communication gets complicated in a system where it is un- or mis-managed.

An approach that has communication be systematic and managed, rather than random, makes possible growth and collaboration, and supports organizational effectiveness.

Please consider for yourself what works and doesn’t work in your organization’s communication systems. How is your organization’s communication system structured to support effectiveness? Innovation? Identification of potential obstacles or issues? Do members of your organization experience themselves as being in communication and responsible for the results of the organization as a whole? Does communication support engagement and effectiveness?

Please send your responses directly to us or post them below.

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