• 7th March 2007 - By proteman

    How would you describe the “inner workings” of your organization or team?

    Commenting on the Scooter Libby trial and guilty verdict, a USA Today reporter observes:

    “…the trial offered a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the White House.
    It showed Cheney’s eagerness to discredit a war critic, the Bush administration’s policies on talking to reporters and its strategies for dealing with a crisis.”

    I take the term “inner workings” to mean the unoffical ways that things get done in organizations.

    In healthy companies and teams, these inner workings are positive forces. For example, FastCompany.com ran an article on “working the grapevine” that argues that company grapevines, or informal communication networks, can be used positively to communicate messages through companies. And we all know “go-to” people in our companies; those seasoned experts who don’t have position power, but whom you can always count on for advice or support. Informal mentoring relationships is yet another example of an unoffical but healthy method of achieving goals in organizations.

    In unhealthy organizations, inner workings are devious and self-serving. The grapevine is used to spread malicious information and make others look bad. Communication is indirect. Rather than speak candidly about difficult subjects, people allow rumors and backstabbing to flourish. People jockey for position by developing cliques and favoring those who share their views or are “good soldiers”.

    What are your company’s “inner workings?” If reporters were covering the inner workings of your company or team, what would they say? Are they healthy?

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