Effective communication is key to the success of any team and organization. Agility, in particular, thrives with effective communication. Anyone who wants to create a high-performing agile organization or team needs effective communication between members, managers, stakeholders, everyone else within the organization, and the outside world.
However, many organizations fail to implement effective communication among their ranks. They struggle to introduce relevant systems, processes, and culture needed for fostering effective communication.
Let’s discuss improving agility by optimizing your communication channels. We will focus on identifying effective communication channels, those channels that require optimization, and how you can improve the ones that are not performing as well.
The idea is to provide actionable insights through measurement of the effectiveness of a communication channel. After all, it is nearly impossible to improve something that you can’t measure. By identifying channels and the various aspects that impact their effectiveness, we can successfully optimize communication channels to improve agility.
Identifying Communication Channels
We can start by identifying various communication channels within the organization or system. This system could be a team, tribe, program, portfolio, or anything related to your use case. Let’s identify five key communication channels present in most organizational systems.
- Channel #1
This channel is the information-sharing mechanism or communication channel between the elemental components of our system. For example, if our system is a tribe, then this channel represents how the teams within our tribe share information or communicate with each other.
It is the channel that the teams of the tribe use to share information, practices, organize activities, and coordinate tasks without getting in each other’s paths and complicating matters.
- Channel #2
This is the channel used by the leadership (stakeholders) to decide how to distribute loads and resources throughout the system and its sub-teams. It provides visibility and an overview of the system to the leadership to analyze performance, progress, obstacles, and other key working aspects of the system.
- Channel #3
This channel offers a projection of our future efforts with information on our current performance, issues, and load capacity. It offers our future planning efforts an accurate estimation of what our system can currently achieve so that we can make accurate predictions about our future efforts based on current outcomes.
- Channel #4
This channel is used to make sure that our system’s ongoing plans and strategy are on track and in line with the overall broader plan, strategy, and vision of our higher-order systems.
- Channel #5
This is the channel used by our system to communicate with the outside world. It is the channel that communicates information about our competitors, regulations, technological advances, changes, etc.
So far, we have referred to a system instead of a team, program, organization, or tribe to describe the identified channels. The concept is recursive and applicable to all levels and layers of any system. So, you can apply it to a team, tribe, or an entire organization.
For example, organizations comprise departments, teams, and sub-teams. We can apply the concept to all parts of the organizational system to identify communication channels between the various departments, teams, and sub-teams that make up the organization.
Then, we can also take each independent sub-team, team, and department and treat it as a system to identify communication channels within each one. We can learn and identify how each one communicates and how their individual plans, objectives, and goals align with the higher-order plans, objectives, and goals.
Measurement and Assessment of the Effectiveness of Communication Channels
As mentioned previously, measurements are needed for improvements. If we are going to optimize communication channels to improve agility, we need to be able to measure and assess the effectiveness of communication channels.
Here is a basic framework that will help measure and assess the various aspects of an effective communication channel.
An assessment of whether a communication channel even exists, to begin with?
An evaluation of whether the channel provides the most recent, relevant, and up-to-date information.
A broad evaluation of the accuracy of information received through the communication channel.
An assessment of how often information is received timely to make time-sensitive decisions and how much the channel can be relied upon to provide critical information or feedback on time to make important decisions. The promptness of a communication channel is crucial for the system to adapt swiftly to changes in its environment.
Doing an assessment of the convenience of accessing the communication channel and making sense of the information received from it.
This is a measurement of the variety of relevant aspects or topics covered by the received information of the channel. A rich communication channel will convey multiple relevant aspects of the concerned area or topic to deliver a broad scope of solutions.
This is an assessment of how likely the information is to help take actionable moves, solve issues, or make decisions. If the recipient of the information received through the communication channel cannot use it to take actions, solve problems, or make decisions, the information is not actionable or useful.
An assessment of how much the shared information is overwhelming. An overloaded of information or large size of information may not be suitable for effective communication.
This is an assessment of the useful versus the non-useful portions of shared information. A contract between the signal and noise is shared on the communication channel.
Improving Agility by Optimizing Communication Channels
These measurements and assessments of communication channels can be applied to all levels and layers of an organization, from the smallest to the largest. It allows optimization of one or more communication channels, which improves the agility of the system or organization.
Most organizations prefer to apply this concept to a single, smaller system before expanding to higher-order systems. It helps them identify, measure, assess, and analyze communication channels before using the gathered information to optimize them.
For example, you can apply it to optimize a single communication channel between two teams before you expand and apply it to the rest of your organization.
You can run a workshop to gather information from members of the concerned system. They can rate the mentioned aspects and provide feedback and examples to qualify their ratings and answers. Together, you can analyze the ratings and feedback to produce actionable insights into the root causes of ineffective communications.
Conclusion to Improving Agility by Optimizing Your Communication Channels
Findings of your analysis will allow you to make improvements in areas you think can be most effective and bring the best value in optimizing communications that improve agility. When you apply this concept to larger systems, it is likely better to first request surveys from team members to rate the mentioned aspects of the effectiveness of the communication channel and provide feedback to justify their answers.
Later, you can use these surveys to organize a workshop where representatives from the higher-order team can analyze results and come up with solutions or experiments to optimize communication channels for improving the agility of teams and the organization.
For guidance and assistance related to Improving Agility by Optimizing Your Communication Channels, get in touch with Cloud Computing Technologies now.
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