If You Look Inside, You Can See the Future of Your Organization

Chapter 12 of Groundswell changes up the perspective, and moves away from the external groundswell and focuses instead on the groundswell inside your own company.  I haven’t (yet) worked for an accounting-focused firm, but I have been involved in organizations that have attempted to use this internal groundswell idea.  They have set up internal intranet sites for us to visit every morning and check up on what has happened since we were last in the office, and there is a section for every department to post information about their inner workings and projects they are focusing on currently.  As well there is a general social listings area where anyone in the organization can post that they are selling bookcases, looking for a good recreation league to join, running a fund-raising campaign for their child’s school field trip or extra-curricular activities.  It is a great start for that organization, but it doesn’t really allow for employees to share their own individual views, as all content has to be forwarded to the Communications department and then edited for clarity and focus.

Admittedly, the companies I have worked for in the past have been on the smaller size (0-50 and 0-250), but they could still encourage their employees to get involved in the processes and with promoting the vision of each organization.  In one organization right now, there is a large project supported by the Executive Director of the organization, that is being taken on by roughly five teams of 5-10 volunteers of differing departments and levels of seniority (although on my last look there were no entry-level employees involved or any from my department).  The purpose of the project is to reevaluate the mission and vision of the organization, and make sure that we are on the right track going forward.

One of the mini-projects is employee line-of-sight, where each employee regardless of position creates a vision statement for themselves in terms of their work and how it assists in reaching the organization’s goals.  It is an interesting idea to get employees to actually think about how they impact the bigger picture, but there has been a lack of communication between the project managers and the employees.  Unless you are directly involved in the project, you are unaware of what is going on, why it is being done, etc.  Even the department managers had no clue on how this would be done, and what the timeline and output expectations of the project were, but were still expected to be on board and assist the project team in completing the project.

A suggestion that I would make would be to implement a set of project wikis or blogs on the intranet, so that anyone who is curious about the projects can ask questions (anonymously if needed), they can view what is being done and how the project is progressing.  Knowing who they can approach for questions or to provide suggestions is also a huge part of providing the best possible results for the projects; by not letting people feel comfortable in piping up and saying “this is a dumb idea, and this is why, and this is how it needs to be refocused…”, organizations are losing out on tapping an excellent resource, their employees.

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