Internal Communication

Nearly all of us are familiar with the saying, “The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.” Let’s look at that a little. This comes from the Bible in Matthew 6:3 in regards to giving. In essence it is saying that our giving is a private matter not to be done for show or to impress others. However, there is another way of saying the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing that is somewhat different.

A Little Story

Quite a few years ago I worked for a company that acquired another company. After the acquisition the management of the acquired company became the dominant group. While my role changing was fine with me, there was one thing that was troublesome. There were certain things that I was to continue to perform, and in order to do so I had to have access to certain information. Unfortunately, one of the new people hired became somewhat of a gatekeeper to that information and, for whatever reason, decided to make it difficult for me to get what I needed. So, here I was trying to do work for which I lacked needed information, essentially leaving me in a situation where my left figuratively didn’t know what the right hand was doing. What this really amounted to was a breakdown of internal communication. Actually this was not isolated to me. There were others who experienced some of the same sense of being left out of the loop. It felt a little like making a phone call and being put on hold permanently; frustrating, to say the least.

Broken Communication

A Common Situation

Putting aside my personal experience, I have seen this happen elsewhere as well with clients. By the way, I’m not intending to sound like I’m complaining. All I want to point out is what happens when internal communication fails. There is a tendency in some companies for management to be overly secretive. While there are certainly things that need to be kept close to the vest (such as strategic plans), this idea of secrecy and confidentiality can get out of hand if it disrupts day-to-day operations and makes it difficult if not impossible for employees to do their job. While information is more critical in some roles than others, it is still needed regardless of the job.

Some Communication Dangers

Like I said, there are some things that need to be kept confidential as disclosure may be damaging to the company and even impact employee morale. However, I encourage you to consider just what you are keeping private. Sometimes employees sense that they are not getting the full picture, at least the picture they need to see. They understand they don’t need to know everything, but they do need to know some things. In addition, if too much is kept private employees get suspicious and uneasy. They begin to fear that the company is in trouble and along with it their job. The best way to avoid this is to make sure that your internal communication is both appropriate and adequate.

How about your company? Are owners and managers communicating what they should or are they making like difficult and uneasy for others in the company? If you are a business owner or manager are you using information to maintain a sense of control? If so, consider whether this is really such a good idea. In the long run it may be counter-productive. So share what needs to be shared. It shows respect for others.

If you want to know more, contact AimCFO – Contact

As always, your comments are welcomed.


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