Cascading Information

CM2009_06_cascadeI’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; Laurette57 via pixabay