This post is about improving communication within organizations, but maybe surprisingly, without the use of computers or smart phones. My friend shared with me his challenge, to improve communication of his organization with about 80 people divided into few separate units. I thought for a while, and proposed following.
1. Pay attention to coffee room and kitchen of the office. Get rid of automatic coffee machines, get some real good coffee and encourage people to spend time drinking good coffee. This may sound crazy, but I believe we are more effective drinking coffee than on our computers by ourselves.
2. Use toilets’ walls creatively as a notice and pin boards with various internal advertisements about on going projects, strategy etc. Use cartoons, illustrations and other easy to understand elements.
3. Organize ”No Agenda” dialogue meetings every second week. These are voluntary and could last about 3-4 hrs each, start with a check-in and finish with some kind of check out. Learning dialogue takes time, but if you keep doing this for 3 months I guarantee surprising results.
4. Organize a monthly seminar for the whole unit. This is compulsory for everyone in the organization and should last no more than 2 hours. Program could include music, theater and other more entertaining elements mixed together with presentations about important issues eg. projects and focus points for the next month. Program should be co-created with participants, and you may want to promote tools for creativity such as pecha kucha.
5. Twice a year you could take your people out. Whether it’s just before holidays like we do it, or in the middle of the season, provide everyone opportunity to join this informal gathering. Maybe rent a cabin, or a rural hotel, organize a little seminar to justify the participation, but the main thing really is party together with your colleagues. These are moments where people can cross-pollinate ideas intensively and have fun.