You have 1000+ employees, all segmented into different locations, departments, and floors. How do you talk to each other? How do you share information? How do you connect? The flow of information inside large organizations is essential for continued business success.
“In an organization, the informational flow is the facts, ideas, data, and opinions that are discussed throughout the company. Information is constantly flowing through organizations and acts as the blood of the company. When information is no longer allowed to flow through an organization, the organization will eventually begin to collapse.” – Reference.com
An organization can’t tell people how to think, but they can control the environment in which they think. This is an important distinction, as it sets the precedent for where information will be transmitted and how it will be consumed. Information can be communicated in many ways: conference calls, one on one’s, email, slack, the list goes on and on. How do you host all of these ideas and make them visible to everyone within an enterprise?
The information entails ideas, facts, data, opinions, and values that are important to the company. Having it segmented in one area will hurt a business’s ability to learn and adapt quickly.
The Information Flow of Large Organizations is Slow
These flows were designed out of the typical hierarchal structure the majority of organizations work in today. With so many different elements at play, it’s hard to keep your head on straight on who should be told what, and what information is relevant to what group of people. Not to mention you are transmitting the information through different channels of communications. As a result, you don’t know who knows what, and if the information is accessible or not.
Middle managers typically take the burden of this responsibility, and they feel like their key responsibility is to manage information flow up and down the organization.
You need to increase the speed of information inside an organization in order to keep up. Having middle managers pick and choose what information belongs where takes too much time. Disruptive startups are at a faster pace as they let infromation flow freely inside their business.
How do you keep up?
Optimizing Information Flow for Large Organizations
In order to mimic startups, and take advantage of the volume of ideas and information inside a large organization, you need to empower your employees.
Empower them to share, and set the landscape to build a network within your business. This will enable connections to build internally, which therefore facilitates collaboration, and sparks knowledge sharing at scale.
Sam Spurlin at The Ready thinks of organizations as networks, and describes how great leaders need to enhance information flow:
“With high-quality connections, information can flow quickly and easily through the network. For example, if one team learns something that may help similar teams in the organization then that information should find those people and teams extremely quickly in a healthy network.
A good leader figures out where this is happening and gets the information flowing again. They are looking for the blockages and bottlenecks. They are looking for lessons that aren’t being learned in one area of the organization when another area of the organization has obviously worked through a similar problem. They are clearing out the pipes between teams and individuals so information starts flowing again and the advantages of being a network can be realized.”
In the end, employees/teams needs to hop off the enterprise plane and be empowered to fly solo. They just need a platform in which they can communicate and share information between each other. Fostering these relationships will help information be surfaced quickly while keeping your organization aligned.
This will allow teams to freely collaborate and judge ideas on their merits and not their provenance.
Surabhi Agarwa tells us that an organization needs to function within the same kind of nervous system:
"Companies need to have the ability to run smoothly and efficiently, to respond quickly to emergencies and opportunities, to quickly get valuable information to the people in the company who need it, the ability to quickly make decisions and interact with customers."
The system itself needs a place to live.
Pressly hosts various digital platforms within enterprise businesses to support their ability to share and collaborate at scale. They are able to post whatever they want, distribute to anyone they want, and engage with anyone they so choose.
As previously stated, if you can host the environment in which information is shared, you will create a free flowing sharing platform that competes with small stage startups.
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