Blogger Aaron Silvers recently wrote about the difference between the organization chart and the actual flow of information and knowledge within an organization. Silvers posits that although hierarchies allow complex organizations to tackle complex problems in ways that very flat, atomic networks don’t do very efficiently, traditional organizational structures may be too rigid to let information flow. Thinking of workflow in terms of communication networks rather than hierarchical charts allows for more flexibility and cross-silo progress.
MREB view: Understanding the relationships between stakeholders requires so much more than an understanding of dotted- and solid-line reporting structures—examining the more fluid dynamics of your organization will help you drive action on your insights and gather the best intelligence and tacit knowledge at your company.
Revealing the unofficial corporate network requires a mapping of the political landscape at your organization: who is critical to the success of a project, who influences those folks, and how committed are those people to taking action or maintaining the status quo. Developing a matrix of Power and Attitude will make it pretty clear who you can depend on and who you need to spend extra effort with to obtain buy-in. MREB members, see how Nokia uses this type of stakeholder analysis to drive change, and then access the tools to conduct your own network analysis.
Identifying content experts throughout your organization, regardless of location on the org chart, is also essential to collecting the best tacit knowledge at your company. This information is vital for decision making, but Research has to provide some parameters and guidance to ensure the right level of contribution, both in terms of who is participating and what type of information you’d like to see from them. This will not only make sure that the information you receive is on point but will also keep network participants engaged by ensuring they aren’t overwhelmed by information requirements. MREB members can access case examples from General Motors, which maintains an informal intelligence network to capture CI knowledge, and Sabre, who uses an internal intranet to quickly, cheaply identify expert opinions and tacit information.