Where communications and engagement are primary

Project(ed) difficulties

Unfortunately, large scale projects regularly go badly wrong or surpass their budget spend. And we can pinpoint a key shortfall in such projects as relating to the communications deficit and its impact. Back in the 80s, Edgar Schein was writing in great detail about how to successfully develop organisational culture. Helpfully, he also wrote about how organisations tend to get it wrong. https://www.strategy-business.com/article/19868?gko=0bf9b Large or growing organisations naturally develop sub cultures around three key groupings. Such developments easily undermine organisational effectiveness. It’s where we see the importance of communication and engagement of employees. Engaged employees are the basis for success.

Executives, experts and users

The groupings which emerge can be defined as executives, experts and operational users. These groupings emerge organically due to the nature of their jobs. As complexity increases and effective communication deteriorates, these groups tend to focus on their group-specific goals. Unfortunately their goals are usually not the same. Executives’ main focus is on profitability. Experts want that elegant solution with cutting edge technology to enhance their own expertise. Operational users just want to get things done efficiently in a way they can be efficient in what they’re doing.

Simply put, executives desire profitability, experts prefer elegant solutions and users just want to get things done. Of the three groups, users are most likely to be impacted by the solution but normally have the least input.

The tendency is for experts to sell high tech, automated solutions to executives as projected profitable outcomes. This may be sold as saving money due to staff reductions. Suddenly there are reasons why user groups should not be consulted. All very understandable human interactions until the solutions do not work. This may be due to a simple shortcoming overlooked by people who do not regularly operate the process. The upshot is the company loses money versus any savings originally projected, due to lack of alignment.

Communication and engagement

Stronger communication of the aligned goals and behaviours for a project is necessary. Using the positive aspects of Schein’s research, there is a need for visible organisation structures and business processes. These processes should be in alignment with strategies and vision and reflecting the values of the organisation. All groups must be involved and engaged in the solution. In such an environment, effective project management breaks down the issues. it also highlights the communication ethic necessary for success in any major project. Only by communicating across these groups can results be optimised. Then the organisation may be aligned for ultimate success. It’s where communication is the currency of organisational effectiveness.

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