Cascading Information

Cascades are more fun for those at the top

Cascades are more fun for those at the top

I’ve heard this a few times lately, I work in a very large company and naturally it’s difficult to communicate a consistent meaningful message to more than 100,000 people. So the tactic employed is to tell the top managers and they’re required to pass it on to their managers, who pass it on down the line to the front line teams of the company.

It sounds sensible in theory, but there are a couple of obvious problems. One is a sender problem; the evaporation of information on the way down the line – each manager chooses how much of the original message to pass on to his/her subordinates. The second is a receiver problem, passing messages along a chain in the game Chinese Whispers leads to distortion in understanding the message fairly quickly.

The third problem is one of perception, as one person commented when nominating the term as one of the most hated business terms at the BBC;

What they really mean is to communicate or disseminate information, usually downwards. What they don’t seem to appreciate is that it sounds like we’re being wee’d on.

That alone is enough to put me off using it!

Image Cascada / waterfall / chute d’eau /Cristóbal Alvarado Minic/ CC BY-SA 2.0

Advertisements

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s