Information access and flow LO11473

Tue, 17 Dec 96 09:18:00 EST

Replying to LO11407 --

I've read some of the posting stemming from Bill Hendry's original

> "Many traditional hierarchical organizations restrict access and flow of
> information.
>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?

Before you can really answer this question, you really have to look at
what impedes the flow of information, and why some organizations
restrict access and flow of information:
1) Politics... some managers feel a loss of control if they share
all the information they have at their disposal.
2) Need to Know... there is a view that lower levels of the
organization won't interpret the information correctly.
3) Status Quo... it's been working like this for years. Why
4) Lack of trust that the employees will actually function

There's probably dozens more. How do you address these impediments?

You can't easily mandate open access, unless you follow up with some
consequences for managers restricting access to information.

You can't just provide tools (like access to the Internet) and expect
people to start searching for their own answers.

You can't just reduce the hierarchy... with no checks, balances and
new processes in place, you'll just overburden some key people and
increase disatisfaction throughout the organization.

You have to start with the individuals. Both in the management and the
employee ranks. You have to build some awareness of the potentials
they have to get the right information, to function effectively
creatively and innovatively. And make decisions.

(I took the word 'good' decisions out... it's more important IMO to
make a decision, rather than make a 'good' decision. Making a 'good'
decision stops many decisions makers from making a decision period!)

As the old saying goes... you can lead a horse to water, but you can't
make him drink... so you can lead an organization to information
access and flow, but you can't make them use it!

[Host's Note: In one person's sig a while back I saw, "You can lead a
horse's-ass to knowledge, but you can't make them *think*". ...Rick]

Gary Scherling
Helping people help themselves


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