by Diane M. Hoffmann, ph.d./th.
Writing on the topic of communication has no limit. Organizational Communication is just one more facet of the communication prism. Whether we organize our communication at work, home or play, we need to recognize it for what it is. A necessary part of life.
Most of us have some organizational communication which we do unconsciously. And that takes us pretty far in our world of communication. However there is also the organizational communication that we can improve, add, and increase which will make our lives even better and more enjoyable.
Let’s take organizational communication in business for starters. In my experience working with various organizations, I have found that when communication is poor at the departmental or staff level, it is firstly poor at the corporate level.
Only when a company is organized within its corporate context can effective communication and training of its people take place. The organization of a business cannot be done independently of its surrounding departments and divisions. And it begins by people – at the top.
To get organizational communication, there must be effective visuals. The first and foremost is the example of the people who implement it. Then the visuals that present the strategy it to the staff. And then the rest of the visuals that illustrate the divisional, departmental and individual participants. This can go into the orientation employee manual and other corporate communication newsletters and memos, etc.
Conventional organization charts, for the most part, do not lend themselves to express such a clear understanding of its purpose. They have a habit of displaying rather a growth of job functions that automatically expands into what gets to be called the organization chart.
A new manager is hired, or a new job is created and a new box is squeezed onto the organizational chart. After a while this chart becomes a cumbersome octopus -- to which management becomes slave without common vision.
To get out of this mode, many organizations have adapted a smaller and more dynamic chart, that limits the levels and departments of an organization, to five or six main divisions. I for one use such a system, even though I am a small business. It is important and indeed critical to be organized however small you might be – even in the family organization.
It is a known fact that in the 80's when senior management perceived the old organization structure wasn't working, wise companies responded by flattening the corporate structure. Companies such as IBM Canada, for example, went from some ten levels on the corporate hierarchy to about five. (Boom, Bust & Echo by David K. Foot & Daniel Stoffman).
One of the first responsibilities of top management is to provide the environment for effective organizational communication. Diversity was the buzzword of the 90's as TQM and Re-engineering were in the 70's and 80's. Now it is teamwork and speed. But all are based on effective organizational communication -- in different ways, depending on cultural, managerial and survival needs.
Before effective communication can be implemented, there must be organizational communication in place, unto which the first and foremost of all communication – verbal -- can be hinged.
Then organizational communication needs to be carried throughout the corporation verbally and visually. How can communication ideas be passed on to the people in the organization if there are no corporate visuals for everyone to commonly focus on?
Visuals are the charts, flow-charts, drawings, diagrams -- anything that creates a common mental picture that can be seen by everybody in the same way, and that can be used as common measuring tools. As I always say, if you can't measure it, you can't manage it.
Setting the environment for positive and effective organizational communication is what senior management must do when undertaking changes, implementing ideas or inviting participative solutions from its members. /dmh
Article Copyright(c)Diane M. Hoffmann. You may print this article making sure to include the following bio without any changes.
Diane M. Hoffmann is the founder of Hoffmann-Rondeau Communications and author of the 296-page printed book "Contextual Communication, Organization and Training". Diane also provides a 2-part e-book version of her printed book, "Improve Communication, Verbal and Nonverbal" and "Improve Communication, Organization and Training" as well as many free articles which can be seen at her blog at http://contextual-communication-hrd.blogspot.com/.
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