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Organizing Communication Processes

Appropriate organization is necessary to achieve the common purpose and to support the leader. From the most complex society right down to the individual cell, all life must organize itself. Higher life organizes itself around a vision, values, and goals. Effective followers help leaders clarify the vision and goals and develop the organization that the group needs to pursue them.

The most important organizational structures and processes are those concerning communication. They tell us how all other organizational processes are functioning. A survey of almost any organization shows that few leaders organize communication processes that are fully satisfactory to the group. To serve a leader well, we must help the leader detect communication deficiencies and design the right combination of communication vehicles to satisfy the organization’s needs. The design of communication processes should be sensitive to multiple needs, including the need for:

the leader to communicate her vision directly to all levels of the organization and its stakeholders;

stakeholders to be able to communicate their views to the leader;

mechanisms to summarize communication to a leader and help her prepare responses so she is not overwhelmed by volume;

information to move swiftly up, down, across, in, and out of the organization so no parts of the group or its environment are left unconnected;

information to circulate among all members of natural work groups so that class distinctions aren’t created or reinforced;

information to be freely circulated, but not overcirculated so that it jams an organization’s functioning or compromises its competitiveness;

the right combination of media and technologies to facilitate communication in an array of situations;

communication that leads to creativity, distributed decision making, coordination, implementation, and evaluation.

Continuous review is required to achieve balance in a communication system so that all levels are touched in a timely way, in all directions, without overburdening the leader or the organization.