Yesterday I posted on a team-based community using the space for the purpose of communicating to several groups.
NOTE: I left a comment on that post that an ideal space for teams to work is not one designed for learning and sharing (CoPs), but rather one designed for tasks. Although they use the same tools (blogs, wikis, forums), the task spaces are more designed to how humans do tasks. A great example is Traction’s case study on the ShoreBank. But since we don’t have a team/task 2.0 type tool our teams are making the best of our community tools.
In this community it was decided to use a blog, rather than several email lists; now all discussion is inclusive and people can visit the blog at anytime, rather then looking for that last email “about that thing I was supposed to do, or did I delete that email.”
I mentioned that the authors in the main communications blog were the people in the first two levels of the hierarchy. This makes it mostly a one party communication tool, besides the other parties being able to comment.
But that insightful comment may be too late, as the decision has already been made and now being communicated.
What I think is important is more transparency (more “good to know”, than “need to know”), which in this example can happen two ways:
1. I mentioned that the authors of the main communications blog will also have an admin blog
- I’m not yet sure if this has reasons to be private, but if not, it could be open, so the other groups can listen in on what’s being talked about
- In the end what’s being talked about will eventually become a decision and be communicated to them
- In the end these decisions decided by people higher in the hierarchy will effect the way they work
- People higher in the hierarchy don’t always know about contexts and how work is actually practiced at ground zero
- So sometimes some of their decisions may be impractical or simply be better or more appropriate or useful, had the people who are impacted, had some input into the issue/task
2. I mentioned that all parties will be able to author in the main forum
- The higher ranked teams can use this forum to crowdsource for input on an issue they are working on
- This is a simple way to get impacted parties involved…decisions communicated by higher parties will be more relevant or practical as they have had dialogue
- This forum can also be used to crowdsource ideas in general, where insight that the higher parties never thought of can become part of strategy.
- It’s also a space where the impacted parties can ask questions
Transparency is such a key factor to a more effective workplace…decisions become more relevant as other groups are able to listen in and intervene or make suggestions before a decision is made.
We can easily see this saves time and money, is a more cooperative approach as related groups are more aware of future impacts (and can prepare or align), and promotes a more cohesive workplace.
Or we can look at the negative perspective; sometimes a decision is made in private, and the decision cannot be reversed, that is, it’s too late.
eg. parties high in the hierarchy buy some software, that is antiquated or not as useful as some cutting edge software…it’s tool late, the money has been spent
Had they been transparent and even crowdsourced some opinion, they would be amazed by the contexts and scenarios people would bring up that would actually make it easy to choose a product as there would be more relevant criteria.
They would also be surprised, that people may know a lot about this type of product, and suggest some more cutting edge choices.
This post has not been about the lack of ultimate communication, it’s about lack of transparency that goes into the path leading up to the eventual communication, and how that communication could be more relevant, and the gossip that seeps.
And from the workers point-of-view; the more included they are, the more they feel a part ownership of decisions, the more satisfied that they can have input into the way they work.
Often there is so much frustration, as in the end it may impact your work routines, and who knows best about ground zero, “you”. So being included somehow, or an opportunity to express your thoughts makes for a more happy and comfortable team, as well as more relevant decisions. Usually it’s the opposite, you hear rumors, or know of talks happening, but you feel so excluded…especially when someone at your level somehow knows more than you.
We know it’s not always going to be the case where others can listen in on some conversations, but it should be default “good to know”, and only be “need to know” when required.
Am I missing anything here?
Any thoughts on how transparency impacts on power, and people in the hierarchy that may feel threatened, disintermediated or usurped by the collective?