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Two out of every three employees believe that the flow of communication between departments within their organization is poor. Â Inevitably, this results in a reduction in the quality of the products and services provided by the organization.
Consider the following all-too-common scenarios:
1) Â Â Â Â Personal Conflict Between Department Managers - When department heads aren''t speaking to each other, it makes it very difficult for others below them to communicate effectively.
2) Â Â Â Â Communication Can Be Time Consuming. - When the pressure for speed and productivity is high, employees don''t bother to take the time to share important information.
3) Â Â Â Â Communication is Not Part of Standard Operating Procedures.- Documented procedures often leave out the critically important step of communicating with other departments.
4) Â Â Â Â Physical Separation - It is difficult for departments to communicate effectively with each other when they are located on different floors or buildings.
5) Â Â Â Â Stereotyping/Finger Pointing - Most organizations have their warring Hatfields and McCoys. Â In manufacturing, it''s typically Sales versus Production. Â In publishing, it''s Editorial versus Sales. Â In Education, it''s teachers versus the administration. Â Each side stereotypes the other as being insensitive to the needs of other departments and customers.
1) Â Â Â Â Identify What Information is Really Needed.- Each department should develop a list of the kind of information they feel is lacking from other departments. Â This should be need-to-know, not nice-to-know, information.
2) Â Â Â Â Conduct Team Building with Department Heads - Properly conducted team building can dramatically improve how well department heads work with each other. Â Typically this requires the use of an outside professional with experience getting senior managers to coalesce as a team.
3) Â Â Â Â Reengineer Processes to Include Communication Components.- Standard operating procedures should include steps that outline when and how information should flow between departments.
4) Â Â Â Â Implement Job Rotation.- Rotating employees through other departments can help them get to know their co-workers and gain a fuller understanding of what they do. Â This will provide employees with a more rounded perspective of how the work of the organization is conducted and the importance of sharing information between departments.
5) Â Â Â Â Conduct the "JFK Communication Exercise." - Ask not what information other departments can provide to you. Â Ask what information you can provide to other departments. Â Encourage employees to commit to provide this information on a regular basis. Â
So, before it''s too late, think about what you and your organization should be doing to improve communication flow between departments.
Â (I am very much interested in your views on this topic. Please reply with your comments and suggestions to Bruce@discoverysurveys.com )