Information within organizations

I have always looked at the information concept from an Engineering point of view. In particularly in my mind the concept of information is correlated with the telecomunication concept of “bit”. As it is indicated in Wikipedia – A bit (a contraction of binary digit) is the basic unit of information in computing and telecommunications; it is the amount of information stored by a digital device or other physical system that exists in one of two possible distinct states.
In particular in telecommunication the most important goal to achieve is to trasfer the maximum quantity of information with the minimum occupied bandwidth or in other words to limit as much as possible the use of the channel or the media necessary for transfering the information.
I think that in our social life we do almost the same, basically we try to transfer the maximum possible information with the minimum effort and the minimum amount of energy. Of course there are a lot of us who enjoy to speak and to interact with other people but in that cases the interaction is mainly driven by the pleasure that this social interaction is giving to us more than the necessary efforts to trasfer the information.

I think that this concept is applicable also to the organizations where the exchange of information between the members is the key point for creating succesful business organizations.

The biggest problems that organization are facing is the effectiveness of the exchange of information between the employees, with customers, with suppliers and with everybody in general.

Everybody when is in the process of exchanging information is more focused in what has been sent, more than in what is received from the opposite site. For example when I meet someone I’m more focused in saying my name than in listening the name that has been told to me. And probably nobody is focused in checking if the listener have really listened, understood or remembered correctly our name. People is more focused on delivering the necessary quantity of information than on the verification of correct reception from the other side.

It is matter of perspective that is absolutely essential in order to improve our relations with others. If you start thinking in this way, then probably you will also realize that sending an e-mail does not necessary mean that the information has reached the target (Don’t send an e-mail, get the job done). You will realize that telling things to the people does not necessary means that they have understood the meaning of what has been told. You will realize also that a huge amount of information could saturate the channel (the listener attention) and result in a not efficient transfer of information.

How many times the people says -“I have told him to do this” or “I have sent him an e-mail, he is not answering me” or “I have clearly expressed the concept to my colleagues” and so on. But the we must change our perspective and sometimes I’ll try to push people to change perspective so I made the following questions – “Are you sure that he has understood what you told him?” or “Are you sure he read your e-mail and understood clearly your point of view?” or “yes, you have expressed your point of view, but is it agreed by your colleagues, is it clear to them?” Sometimes with that questions people looks a little bit displaced, as if the new point of view is new and unusual. Probably it means that I reached my objective – force to check the information from the receiver point of view.

This concept could seem obvious but I believe that a good leader should keep this in mind and repeat to itself continuously that it is absolutely important to look at the transfer of information from the listener perspective more than the transmitter of the information.

Investing time in the process of improving the exchange of information within organizations is a key point for the success of the organizations themselves. I think that with the global competition, with the increase of media channels for communications and with the expanding of the customers base around the world, the efficient transfer of information will be the key point for the success of future leading companies.

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Are you trustable?

The title of this post is not new, is something that is bouncing in my head from some weeks ago. I remember that I read an article about that (“Do your people trust you?“) and what I clearly remember is the most important question that every manager should ask themselves: “Are you trustable?” The answer could seem easy or maybe silly, but probably could be not so easy if made like this: “Do your employees define you as a trustable person?” The answer probably in this case is not so easy and could sound like “I don’t know” or even worst “I don’t care”.

But let’s start from the beginning. What do I mean when I say trust? Well, trust for me is a very deep and important form of relationship. Trust means that you “believe” in someone else’s words, in its motivations and that despite a possible disagreement his words have a great value and impact on your behavior (in the positive sense). When you trust someone you are going to do things that you normally don’t do by yourself. That you are going to consider way of thinkings, aspect of your life and so on in a different way, only because you trust him! When you trust someone is because you believe that he owns your respect. Been trustable for me it means that I put something of myself, thoughts, expectations, williness, energy, professionalism, in your hands because I think that this is an investment. And this investment is paying back for the “trust” that I have invested on you. So “trust” is kind of investment, probably the most important and risky investment that we have at our disposal.

Coming back to the first question “Do your employees define you as a trustable person?” Because if the answer is not, then how could you pretend they believe in you and that they do what has been told them to do? And if the answer is “I don’t know” then I think you have to hurry up and start to “know”. It is not something that you could analyze later. It is absolutely fundamental for yourself, for your career and for the relationship with the others. Sometimes we are too much focused in our own improvement that we do not realize that the key point of our improvement is the relationships that we have with our colleagues, with our employees, with our customers.

If you want to have the maximum from the people working for you, you have to give them the maximum of yourself. And that maximum is to be trustable! Is something that you have to be, despite the difficulties, despite the changed situations, despite any kind of challenge that you are facing or obstacles to overcome. Been trustable is the most important investment that you could make in your life.

Do you really believe to not have enough creativity?

The title of this post is a kind of provocation. As my friend said in his post “importance of creativity”, creativity is fundamental in today competitive world.

I’m pretty sure that a lot of people if put in front of the question “are you a creative person?” would probably answer “no, not at all” or I can imagine a lot of persons who shares my background (electronic engineering) that probably will answer “of course not I’m a concrete person and I look at facts, formulas and numbers…”.

Well, probably few months ago my answer would have been the same, but after some months spent during my MBA the answer is a little different.

So what is it creativity? Well the answer is not easy and I’m not pretending to give you a complete and exhaustive definition, I just want to illustrate my point of view.

The word “creativity” comes from “to create”, so we can say that a creative person is someone able to create something. But in order to create something you need to have a base, a background, something to start from. We can imagine that creativity is very similar to the drawings that kids make. What they do is to try to represent the world according to what they know and according to the stimulus that they have received in their life. And it is impressive how the quality of the drawings improves the more they practice and the older they became. The reason is that they start to fill their background with more and more information and the new drawings start to be more complex, more precise and more “creative”. Basically they have more and more contents where to pick up something in order to create something new, or at least that looks new from their point of view.

When you became an adult the process is almost the same. The process of creativity is simply the ability to put together all your knowledge in order to create something that is out of the box, that looks different or that is different, but different from the point of view of the others which are observing “the creation”.

So keeping in mind my initial question “are you a creative person?” the answer is “of course I am”. I am a person with a unique combination of knowledge and this unique combination is giving me all the bases for been a creative person.

I’m really convinced that everybody is a creative person, the problem is that a lot of people don’t even realize that and tends to think always in the same way or to give up at the first problem. Being creative is not easy, it’s hard because first of all you must improve your base knowledge and secondly you have to force yourself to look out of the box, to think differently (or laterally) and to use all your ability to create connections, to pick up from different subjects, to use every insignificant piece of knowledge you have acquired in order “to create something that nobody has done before”.

Why everything that you studied is so important

A friend of mine some days ago asked me: “Why logaritms are important?” My answer was that they are the basics for describing all the exponential relations like in the RF communications and in the sound pressure that are generally expressed in dB (decibell), but this was just the first thing that comes to my mind. So then my friend asked me something about literature and so on. Eventually the real question came in: “why is it so important to study?” and I add something more that a lot of people says often to me: “Don’t tell me that this subject that we have studied have been useful for you in your professional carrer or in your life…”

My answer, always, is that not only has been useful but I would have needed even more knowledge on that subject. The truth is that in my professional life I have used all the things that I have studied; starting from the most important and most used things till the last insignificant things that first or later you realize has an importance too.

The thing that makes some people excel in life is the real ability to connect things together. And in order to do it you need to pick up things from different subjects, from different competences, from different points of view and so on.

When I thing about myself I realize that also the most silly things, which at the time I believed they weren’t so important, if you make the right connections could help you to add a small piece of knowledge to the analysis of the problem. And the more small pieces you put together the more you could make the difference.

Working as an engineer also the Italian literature of the enlighment period has been useful. Sometimes just to share some common thoughts with customers or colleagues.

Of course it is clear that some things are fundamental and some others are (I do not say less important) less correlated with what is your professional life, but you will never know what will be your future carrer or where your passions could drive you for the rest of your life.

So the message is, don’t underevaluate what you studied but cultivate all your passions and be proud of all the time you spent improving yourself because this is what makes you unique and valuable for the others.