One of the things learned by the smallest of children are ways to communicate with their parents and others. They learn this at a very young age and it evolves from non-verbal to verbal communication. It is essential, because it allows children to effectively communicate their needs to parents and caregivers. This is one of the most important things children learn, and it will be used everyday for the rest of their lives. Although we use it in every waking moment of our lives, communication is something that we don’t actively think about very often, that is until something changes.
Communication, personal and organizational, has changed due to the growth of technology and online communication. Theses changes are primarily due to our evolution into a much more social oriented world. The days of non-communication within the siloed organizational structure can no longer survive if they want to move organizations from where they were pre-technology to our current technology driven world.
The first change that must be made to improve overall communication, is to move organizations beyond the non-communicative, Siloed structure because it is no longer effective, not that I believe it ever was. It is even LESS effective now due to the growth of social media and evolution of communication beyond the non-sharing structure, which is typically associated with the organizational silo.
Organizations with a Siloed structure have obstructions in their ability to communicate effectively between departments. This structure may have been effective during the industrial age but it is ineffective now, more so due to the individual AND the organizational need to be more team oriented, to accomplish organizational goals.
Social media has opened the Pandora’s box of communication for individuals and organizations that are willing to embrace the benefits of a team oriented work environment. Most organizations that have benefitted from embracing a more social, teamwork oriented work environment and open communication style are technology/digital-focused organizations. Others are lagging behind substantially which will prove to create many challenges as we are moving toward an organizational structure that is more collaborative.
Gone are times when each department could work within their own little bubble. It is no longer the most productive way to do business and this is primarily because most organizations are heavily dependent up technology or will be in the not so distant future. In order to compete with competitors EVERY organization has to reorganize their siloed structure if they want to compete and thrive in an era where collaboration is imperative.
I have been in this industry for a while, long enough to see that there are some that have immediately recognized the shift in the world dynamic and others that are still just SO unaware. I say shift in the world dynamic, because this technology revolution is not just geared toward organizations but toward the entire world and has in fact changed the entire world. I know that sounds dramatic, it even sounds dramatic as I am typing. However it is the truth, the world has really been altered, as a result of this drastic change in communication. Hence, the era when siloed organizations thrived is a thing of the past. We must all embrace the changes, alter how we think, communicate and interact within the organization because WE have changed as individuals as well.
We all have literally changed HOW we communicate with friends, family, co-workers and colleagues. How we interact with one another as individuals has changed every aspect of our daily lives. We have moved so much beyond individual conversation, to the ability to participate in multiple levels of interaction within a social atmosphere. The ability to become a part of the conversation by offering tiny tidbits or ourselves, images of our lives, video of our kids and or music dislikes and likes, our reading habit and so much more. These little bits of information that we’ve shared by way of social channels has slowly changed how we communicate with each other and changed how WE communicate within the organizational structure as well. Siloed organizations no longer work.
So, as people change so must organizations, from the communication within those organizations to the very structure of the organization. How can organizations NOT change, when everyone around them has changed? The way we communicate has essentially changed us to the point that old school organizational communication is just NOT as effective as it once was. How can it be when the elements of the organization and the employees are no longer the same?
We are now living in an era of open communication, sometimes a little too open, but open nevertheless. Due to our much more social world we also share much more than in the past. These are two of the biggest factors that should propel organizations to utilize the change in people to move organizations away from the organizational silo, which embodies dysfunctional lack of communication. We must make strides to moved into a much more open, teamwork driven organization, which would thrive in this new era of sharing, open communication and collaboration.
Digital Marketing and a much more social world has really shredded the structural foundation of a siloed organization, primarily due to the change in communication and HOW communication must be handled within an organization NOW. Technology is responsible for people almost being FORCED to venture outside of their bubble. Don’t panic, THIS is the first sign of positive organizational change within any organization. Change is good!
Digital marketing touches every aspect of an organization now so people that would NOT have worked together many years ago are almost forced to do so now. The growth of this technology and evolution of traditional marketing are creating scenarios in which workers must develop more of a team dynamic if they want to see company growth.
No longer can there be an organizational separation of company and technology, because technology touches every aspect of the organizations no matter the perception. The evolution of the organization has started with the individuals that are within that organization and it will continue to evolve, ready or not. Companies must start to recognize these changes, adapt to the changes that have already taken place and that are beyond the control of the current organizational structure. Organizations must be willing to no only add technology in its minimal form but embrace ALL of the change that go along with the growth of this technology. Technology is NOT an afterthought and is not optional anymore. Why, you ask? Because technology growth is speeding up NOT slowing down, it is mandatory that organizations see beyond what was, to what is now and things to come in the future. This starts with addressing HOW individuals communicate within the organization and make immediate changes if the structure is out of sync with the individuals within the organization.
The take away:
It’s time to stop viewing technology as an organizational after thought and embrace all that it has to offer, even if it is change. Change is good!