Blog:Let Information Flow
Want to reduce friction?
Let information flow. Want to improve product quality?
Let information flow. Want to build trust with your team?
Let information flow.
Hoarding information and blocking access to people with information is a recipe for failure and toxicity.
The benefits of creating and nurturing a workplace culture where
information flows is much longer than the aforementioned prompts, and the idea is valid under different contexts and industries as well. However, what does
letting information flow mean?
Another way of answering or better understanding what
letting information flow means is to look at it from the lens of what it is not, and that is
information hoarding. Information hoarding is the act of
gatekeeping—preventing access to—relevant, critical information, including people.
Letting information flow can also have the affect of dismantling power structures that are antiquated and harmful.
Hoarding information and blocking access to people that have information that is helpful for others to do their work succesfully inevitably creates an environment where failure and toxicity are the norm.
Dismantling Power Structures
Letting information flow easily between people within an organization can also have the affect of dismantling power structures that are antiquated and harmful in getting things done and addressing serious problems in a timely manner.
Failing to provide or consider context can lead to problems later on.
For instance, by continuously informing your team(s) about what you know, whether it's at a strategic or tactical level thing, including the outcome of disagreements on direction—when those occur, because they do!—it helps create an environment of
transparency, which in turn helps builds
trust. By encouraging members of your team to approach others in the company regardless of
rank (seniority), because others have information your teammates need for helping solve a problem,
empowerment is instilled, which in turn cultivates
collaboration and exhibits value for diversity in idea and thought—ingenuity. Similar results the other way around when leaders toward the top of company ranks make themselves accessible to individuals throughout the company for solving problems.
This is the case at Tesla, at least in my experience: leaders at all-levels across the company are accessible for collaboration and problem solving.
Let Information Flow... with Context
While (re)exploring how to reshape your workplace culture to more seamlessly allow information to flow between people and cross-functional teams, I would underscore one more critical factor when sharing information:
context—always provide context.
Empower your team by removing barriers of access to cross-functional teams with information that can lead to collaboration and solutions—ingenuity.
Failing to provide or consider context as a part of general conversations, decision-making, even troubleshooting scenarios, can lead to problems later on. Providing context can be in the form of general outcome expectations, including the consideration of cultural norms of individuals within your teammates. And when considering outcome expectations, don't overlook
compassion; lead your team(s) with an inclusive lens.
To help cultviate a continuous flow of information, which includes
the sharing of knowledge, consider working-in
Lastly, to help cultivate a continuous flow of information, which includes
the sharing of knowledge, consider working-in
brown bag sessions with your team, and invite cross-functional teams to attend. A
brown bag session is a dedicated time in which someone or a group, for example, share lessons learned for a project, or do a deep dive on a technical or design solution. I use the name
brown bag because my team and cross-functional teams typically setup these knowledge sharing sessions around a group lunch; it's good and fun all-around.
With that said—
let information flow.
I am human, a father, and a problem solver: an inclusive tech and people leader with a passion and proven track-record in recruiting and leading compassionate, productive teams—remote and on-site—within a continuous learning culture. My teams and I champion usable, accessible digital products and online experiences. My work, passion and values also intersect with advising small businesses and political campaigns, outdoor and education advocacy, community building, and amplifying voices from historically marginalized communities. Learn more about Manny
I operate from a place of compassion, possibility and imagination. My work and efforts share a common goal: create a better, sustainable and equitable world by building inclusive communities, products & experiences.