Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Reshaping Communication Across the Enterprise: CTC Continued

Getting the Word Out

There is so much to read from this year's CTC Conference, and so much written on Jessica Lipnack and Jeffrey Stamps' work, that I'll be brief here. As always, for a full transcript of their talk, see Nancy White's thorough reporting.

The Big Idea: Cracking the Diamond

Jessica Lipnack and Jeffrey Stamps spoke the second day and were concerned with the predicament: We can't solve 21st-Century problems with 19th-Century organizations. As they remind us, this perspective was first voiced not by a wandering team theorist but by the CIA -- and not too long ago, either.

Transforming Big Business From Bureaucracy Into a Network

The talk's goal was to describe strategies and tools by which to make an organization transparent. Effective collaboration is possible only when everyone's individual position is visible to the group. In other words, you need to see where everyone sits on in the company's architecture.

The speakers argue that an organization is a diamond rather the pyramid everyone assumes it to be. The average large organization is nine levels deep, although it's only the first five levels that usually receive key information from the top. Therefore, communication by way of cascade will not reach the whole organization
Because managers -- in the middle -- are not being hit.

One Solution

Lipnack and Stamps suggest communicating from one side of the diamond to the other -- rather than from the top down -- to ensure managers are reached. The focus, they say, should be on the middle of the organization and reaching it as quickly as possible. Then, each manager will do the work of communicating to his or her teams, and everyone will hear what needs to be said.

Both speakers spoke compellingly, and used technology effectively to show (rather than tell) of the challenges of organizational structure. If your organization is having trouble getting the word out, they have a lot to offer. Check out their website for papers and other resources.

More on CTC in the next post.

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