A Strategic Focus on Face-to-Face Communication
By Jim Shaffer
Superior communication management should help improve organizational performance. Its job is to focus people on what's required to win and build an environment that gives them the information needed to improve performance. It should do its job as effectively and efficiently as possible.Three factors have reinvented the way we must manage communication: technology, increased global competition and the emerging partnership between an organization and its members.Technology has replaced layers of management that frequently blocked communication back in the days when the communication process was thought to be a hierarchic, cascading, up and down process. Technology now allows anyone with E-mail to move information throughout the organization, posing questions or suggesting new product ideas to any individual, regardless of their location or status.
Increased competition has forced us to look for ways to do everything exponentially better, faster and at less cost. It's caused us to challenge all the rules, processes, policies, programs and structures. Self-direction, virtual offices, spiderweb organizational structures and telecommuting has forced many organizations to adopt more efficient and effective ways of moving information among people who need that it. A new partnership has evolved from a recognition that assets such as capital, raw materials and technology are inert until people do something with them. Those firms that can get the right people doing the right things at the right time with precious finite assets will be tomorrow's winners. Communication in its broadest form is a critical enabler that can engage people and unlock the discretionary effort that's needed to win. Organizations that understand these factors and manage communications well have adopted or are adopting the following two best practices:
1. Using a concept commonly called open book leadership, they're creating businesses of business people where everyone thinks and acts like a business owner.
2. They're seeking faster, more focused ways to get relevant information into the hands of those who can most influence business performance.
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