Information access and flow LO11428
Fri, 13 Dec 1996 17:47:04 -0500

Replying to LO11407 --

In a message dated 13-12-1996 02:08:15, Bill Hendry wrote:

"How can we open the flow of information so that all members of an
organization will have access to the information they need to function
effectively, be creative and innovative, and make good decisions?"

This was preceded by a note that flow of information is restricted in a
hierarchical organization.

Simple answer: Reduce hierarchy. Complex answer: Reduce hierarchy.

Even simpler answer: Declare autocracy (it's the problem not hierarchy per
se) dead and announce that those who pass on information the quickest get
all the pizza they can eat.

Another simple answer: Reward/encourage/bless/whatever those who are eager
to pass along information and listen to what colleagues and/or customers
have to say. Also: reward/encourage/etc. performance of specified tasks
and assisting others to successfully complete theirs.

Make them watch the film about the Battle of the Bulge (WW2) ten times or
until they understand that the German army was crippled because (among
other reasons) they could not use their own initiative or change any
plans. Everything had to go back up the chain of command (which in this
case was held by an autocratic, unsane dictator) and come back down before
the frontline could do anything other than what THE PLAN called for. The
Allied forces (which had a good deal of hierarchy) while not wildly in
favor of taking initiative, had enough rebels or folks with the common
sense to not mistake the map (plan) for the terrain (actual situation).

General goals/orders were to be achieved within the context of the

John Guaspari once wrote an article for me called Limits can be
liberating. By that he meant, top management should set the general goals
(set the limits) and those below could then be fairly creative within
those boundaries (desired endpoint).

So, increase the area of discretion and encourage an appreciation for
adapting to the context of the situation is perhaps a start.

Ned Hamson, editor: The Journal for Quality and Participation - Association
for Quality and Participation, 801-B W. 8th St., Suite 501, Cincinnati, OH
Tel: 513-381-1979 Fax: 513-381-0070 - e-mail:
"This is the time... We are the people... Let's work together... Now!" Ned
"To create therefore involves learning to trust in the authority of our own
immediate and direct experience of our world." Michael Jones
Draft AQP Web site/

Fri, 13 dec 1996


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