We’ve all been there; a missed email, a meeting that happens without our knowledge, a memo that never made it to our desk. In organizations, problems with the flow of information can hinder our ability to perform our jobs well. This can cause serious issues in team dynamics. But most of the time communication breakdown isn’t malicious or even intentional in nature. Most of the time it simply comes down to an information bottleneck and a lack of resources for clear communication.
So how do you avoid these information bottlenecks and establish clear communication within your organization? It comes down to three things:
Start with the culture
No matter how good a communicator you think you may be, information stops flowing freely when there is a workplace culture that creates fear, insecurity, and competition when it comes to sharing. Much of the time it starts at the top; leaders need to make sure that subordinates feel comfortable with talking to them openly. Subordinates shouldn’t be afraid to speak out or disagree with leaders’ ideas, and they should understand communication preferences and policies. Swedish companies typically have flat organizations with little hierarchy. But, this can be a big problem for larger organizations and international companies.
Add in policies and protocols
While an open culture ensures that information doesn’t become inhibited, there can still be issues that cause bottlenecks. Organizations still require structure to run smoothly, and the same is said for handling information and communication.
Your organization should put into place a sort of protocol for information; what decisions can be made individually, what kind of expectations need to be managed for project leaders, what are the policies for hold-ups and missed deadlines?
All of these things should be clearly established and dealt with in a uniform manner. One of the biggest contributors to bottlenecks in the workplace is a lack of organization. Especially when project teams contain several people working on different parts that rely on one another for completion. While rules can sometimes stifle creativity, protocols for handling information and communication properly will benefit all levels of the organization.
Finish with great tools
Once you have the foundation in place for great communication and free flow of information with a clear structure, then give employees tools.
Communication and productivity tools are now the hallmark of modern offices. Further they can play an integral part in preventing information bottlenecks. Just as email and interoffice messaging systems made paper notes and telephone call slips obsolete, new technology is enhancing how we interact with our colleagues and share information more easily.
Increasingly, offices are also becoming mobile optimized with employees being able to communicate more easily from their phones, and from different locations. We see companies striving for greater interconnectivity to improve communications, and we’re doing what we can to enable this as well. Meeting booking systems are just one way to encourage easy information flow around meeting times, room reservations, scheduling, and applications that can enable this in a more comprehensive way will be the greater answer to preventing bottlenecking when it comes to meetings.
Information bottlenecking is a major problem for some organizations. But, through careful consideration and honest conversations with your employees, you can avoid it almost entirely. Add in some useful tools to help your staff stay connected and freely communicating around important office issues such as meetings, and you’ll be more productive than ever.
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