Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Only good news make it to the top

Every manager knows that there are processes of selective filtration which occur in information transmission in organizational hierarchies. In other words, good news travel in lightning speed, bad news are filtered out. In fact, in my experience, they are filtered out only until an underlying problem eventually escalates.

I am not an expert on organizational behavior. Research indicates that interpersonal factors like subordinate's trust in his superior, subordinate's perception of his superior's influence on his career and subordinate's career aspirations are factors influencing the upward communication. The first one seems to be most important.

I am sure we need to work on the trust thing. At the same time we need to make sure that management has access to action-relevant operational information in due time in a simple and straight-forward format. You will now shout 'dashboard' but be aware, dashboards tend to be either over-simplistic or too complicated. The trick might be a good mix of relevant performance indicators in a dashboard format with a filter on what is important and drill-down possibility.

In a later post I plan to write about dashboards, the difference of dashboards to scorecards and why you should not ask managers i.e. users what they should look like. Well, at least not in the beginning.

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