Improving Internal Communications LO18765

Richard C. Holloway (
Thu, 30 Jul 1998 14:12:53 -0700

Replying to LO18751 --

I generally find that the causes of internal communications problems are
that there are little or no meaningful commnications occurring within the
workplace. By this, I don't refer to the number of meetings that take
place--or efforts to improve communications. I just mean that, despite
the increasing attempts to improve communications, people still don't
listen to each other--and don't say the things that need to be said.

Your blueprint or plan indicates to me that listening isn't part of the
culture. I understand that the interest is in fixing the problem, and
that there has been a process identified to do that. I just don't expect
that you'll improve the situation--at least, not for the longer haul.

I think that your idea to hold cross discipline sessions is great. Maybe
they should be solution sessions rather than work sessions. I encourage
you to consider using dialog or open space methodologies to bridge the
communications gap. The conveners (the decision-makers) should be intent
mostly on listening to the problems that are identified--and the solutions
that are proffered. Not all of them will be accurate--and certainly some
will be more valuable than others--but all are important to open the
culture to communicating.

As solutions become implemented, there will be a tendency to go back to
the old ways of working and relating. Resist this tendency by creating
opportunities for disagreement, solutions, talking and listening
throughout the organization (including support people, apprentices and
other stakeholders--perhaps important vendors or clients).

This is too brief a response to mention all of the things which come to
mind. However, I've been involved in this process--and situation--many
times. It's difficult to do the opposite of what you feel like doing in
these situations (try to "fix" everything), but actually it's better
sometimes to create a safe environment and provide the necessary resources
for the staff to begin fixing things (like their relationships) for

One last point--it's usually times like this that people in the workgroup
have lost sight of their shared purpose. I think that it is fundamental
to getting people reintegrated that they begin engaging in meaningful
conversations about that purpose--and about those significant reasons why
they are in a workgroup together.

good luck,

Doc Holloway

"Most organizations are not designed, they grow. Indeed, there are several
studies which draw biological analogies to describe organizational phenomena.
But not all organizations adapt equally well to the environment within which
they grow. Many, like the dinosaur of great size but little brain, remain
unchanged in a changing world."   -Charles Handy

Thresholds--developing critical skills for living organizations Richard C. "Doc" Holloway Olympia, WA ICQ# 10849650 Please visit our new website, still at <> <>

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