Information access and flow LO11455

Barry Mallis (
16 Dec 1996 08:18:29 -0500

Reply to: RE>Information access and flow LO11407


Tolstoy begins his novel, Anna Karenina, with this sentence: "All happy =
families resemble one another; all sad families are sad for their own =
unique reasons."

Cultures vary from one organization to the next; however, it may be said =
that there exist common denominators in most all groups. How and where =
one initiates cultural change are questions best answered by the pioneers =
within an organization's culture--sometimes with assistance from third =

Although I haven't read much about it in these contributions, I suspect =
that one of many ways to open the flow of communication is to promote =
cross-functional team work. Many organizations continue to work in, and =
promote environments where tasks are completed in one functional area, =
then thrown over the wall to the next. The hand-off is somewhat surgical =
in that there is little attention paid to: the integrated aspect of work =
flow, responsibilities to those downstream, feedback to those upstream.

Junk of whatever kind is seen as someone else's problem, not mine in my =
own work cell. Cross-functional team work with a weakness orientation =
("What are the obstacles to..." or "What prevents us from...") demand =
that historically distant, non-communicative areas meet at the table to =
understand what has happened and what might be done.

I'll stop here by saying that there are many communication tools that we =
know about which support the interaction I'm suggesting: brainstorming, =
process mapping, affinity diagramming, check sheets, Paretos, and on and =

For starters,


Barry Mallis MARKEM Corporation Keene, NH

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