Hierarchical communication in organizations is going to an end. The flow of information through the traditional way from the boss to the subordinate is decreasing. For this reason, some famous companies have broken down their barriers so that employees can go without fear of their superiors to provide valuable information, solve problems, or give answers to customers.
For example, successful companies like Google create an open work environment that generates empathy and a sense of belonging. The most important thing is that with this system, which is based on effective communication, they can achieve fast and effective results in projects.
Elon Musk, the owner of SpaceX, Tesla Motors and other companies, has a radical position on this issue. An example of this was an email that he sent to his workers to emphasize the importance of speaking without fear. Musk thinks that the traditional line of communication through managers gives power to the latter and slows the flow of valuable information. And besides, it contributes little to the structure of the company.
“Anyone at Tesla can and should email/talk to anyone else according to what they think is the fastest way to solve a problem for the benefit of the whole company. You can talk to your manager's manager without his permission, you can talk directly to a VP in another dept, you can talk to me, you can talk to anyone without anyone else's permission,” said Musk in his letter.
Effective communication breaks barriers
The truth is that rigid structures generally diminish the understanding among departments. Instead, top-down communication opens a way for information to flow smoothly among employees. In order to talk about effective communication, it is crucial that no walls are dividing the different areas of organizations.
The need for rapidly executing tasks has caused companies to seek more effective means of communication. If someone has a powerful idea, it is better to reach a decision quickly. But if the idea has to go through the chain of specialist to the manager, then the director, then the vice president, and finally the president, it is likely that time and information will be lost.
A worker with the freedom to talk with managers from all areas will raise their sense of belonging in the company. Musk believes that this is the way for companies to achieve success.
Fewer meetings, more effectiveness
Though there are communication channels in companies, nowadays these routes are mutating. As organizations have evolved, ways of communicating have been simplified.
Companies now prefer direct mail and open conversations, while they have also reduced the number of meetings. This is because the primary objective is to give quick answers and find solutions. Without effective communication, it is difficult to compete in today's world.
Long meetings no longer fit in the new reality. It makes little sense to periodically gather valuable people for hours to discuss general issues if there is not much to contribute.
As highlighted in the Principles of Management work, managers that use more channels to transmit information quickly are more successful than those that do not use them. In the last decade, the use of messaging platforms among work groups has grown. This is ideal for both, to follow up on topics of interest and to propose and seek solutions to unexpected events.
We can see that Musk's idea gains strength. Talking without barriers is already more than a trend. For many organizations, it has become the most effective way to take advantage of all workers’ talent.