Sunday, July 12, 2009

Organizational Behaviour - Damage Control Boards

Something that did not make the cut for an assignment. But i figured - hey this is good stuff....why not put it up here....So viola

Organizational Behavior
Maintaining Damage Control (or “Status”) Board
(Visual display of current activities – either via online Bulletin board or physical mediums such as whiteboards)
Maintaining resources, and displaying this information for all who are in the company – is often a neglected culture. It is assumed that sales divisions / service divisions / accounts divisions even management divisions all operate on their own accord – completely independent from one another. However the reality is that a lot of these areas are interdependent on one another’s. They rely heavily on interdepartmental communication – yet very little useful information is conveyed between them.
Adapting a simple culture of maintaining message boards, can assist greatly in interdepartmental communications – allowing them to setup current information for “future use” with other departments. Rather than having that information locked away within individuals. Maintaining these boards have to be an internal culture however – otherwise they rapidly become outdated, and unused as a resource.
Specific components of the culture of maintaining status boards that must be maintained are:
a) Date stamp (and if required timestamp) all new information when updating. Otherwise the information becomes useless – as the other departments will still ask the team members as to the status of members, project or stock… this very time.
A Status board with accurate information will be considered the focus point of a department – Colleagues will have less hostility to a department that has a more transparent feel to its operations. Likewise, if the information is inaccurate – divisions will vent their frustrations of not having enough information towards the nearest team member they can find.
b) Refer to objects (or people if required) off the board, when updating the board. The last thing teams external want to do is have to ask for help because they do not have sufficient information. Who is on that job? What is the job number? Why do we need this part? Where do these sales figures relate to? What month archives are you talking about?
People do not mind going and looking for information themselves – however if they do not have sufficient information, quite often (due to inter-office conflict) they assume that you are hiding this reference material – and feel suspicious around you.
c) Most important of all – UPDATE THE MEDIUM FREQUENTLY!
This is a medium between 2 parties inside a company. This needs to be a culture of updating the medium. Without this medium, people usually go to the only other central point in the team - management, who may not have the whole picture. It also helps the internal team structure as all team members. This is your teams’ voice – both inside and outside the team. If it’s clear and concise, your team is respected within the organization. And respect means that quite often “complaints” towards your team from other section of the organization become “queries”.