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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3 comments on “Information within organizations

  1. Absolutely true. I think when we sent an email, we just assume people received it and understood the content. Another thing to bear in mind is that the person who send the email need to make sure the content of the email is clear enough for the recipients. For example, make several bullet points, use simple words, create a few questions, say “what I need from you”, indicate a deadline etc. These indicators can convey the importance and the urgency of your email. No guarantee it will be properly read, but at least you increase the chance of success!

  2. Hi Ivan, I love your points about emails getting in the way. I recently discussed this same subject in a class. What happens when our “tools” start getting in the way of actually getting work done? As you mention, the transfer of a meaning can get distorted or broken through noise or a misinterpretation of someone’s written message and lack of the verbal and nonverbal (i.e. bodylanguage) cues we use so much in face to face communication. Relying on emails, instead of just picking up the phone or seeing someone in person delays progress and further distances us from one on one interaction and socializing. So when emails are necessary, I agree, be professional, think about how it will sound to receiver, maybe save it and come back later.

    • Good point. The face to face communication is always the best approach. Nevertheless sometimes people is focused only in saying things instead of checking to be understood and the result is poor. I like your idea of writing an e-mail, save it and come back later. I always do this if I’m a little upset or annoyed. The night normally slows down emotions, so I can go back with a more professional and relaxed e-mail the day after.

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