Communicating can, of course, take many forms that are not verbal or linked to body language. Making promotions, new appointments, drawing lists of key staff, and creating organisation charts are all activities that send messages to your staff. The problem is that the messages can so easily be misinterpreted. Here is the letter about organisational diagrams.
Organisation charts matter for many reasons. But I think they can be as dangerous as they are useful. We need to learn from the negative reactions we encountered last week.
The point is that most people really care about their time at work. They build some of the deepest relationships there, they create their own workspaces, they also build and live out their own private hopes and aspirations. Everything about organisation structures either endorses, supports or threatens these powerful feelings – any changes doubly so. And I think the reactions to these changes are particularly vigorous because the new printed diagram looks so firm, fixed, unambiguous. This is fine for the few who win out, but for the vast majority finding their way through a new format creates varying degrees of unease and threat. Charts like the one we were discussing are potent forms of communication. We need to spend considerable time, before we publish, talking with, explaining to and reassuring those who are not obviously winning out. And we need to ensure that this process continues after we post the changes. It’s just like publishing the England Rugby team line–up without giving prior warning or explanation to those being dropped. It happens again and again, and look at how demotivated those are who are not given that little piece of consideration and care. I’m afraid everything you do and say as CEO is part of communicating – everything you publish is especially part of the process – diagrams are dangerous. See you,