Yesterday I discussed how communities and organizations are often seen as having human characteristics. I also suggested an exercise for your staff meeting to discuss what your organization would look like as a person.
The primary reason for the exercise is to gauge how your employees perceive your organization. It could also be used to determine how your customers or the community in general perceives your organization. The point is not so much how your organization is perceived as it is whether different groups see the organization in the same way. For example, let’s say that your organization had 30 offices. Going through this exercise in every office would be valuable because it would reveal whether different offices see the organization in the same. If one office describes the organization as an old lady, and another described it as a young man then clearly there is something going on. In this case the exercise reveals that the organization apparently has an internal communication problem. And that’s the punchline: this exercise is one way to measure your communication effectiveness. If different offices or divisions perceive the company or organization differently, then that is valuable information to know. Of course, if your organization is a clandestine spy agency you probably want each division to perceive the organization in a different way.
Tomorrow, I’ll tell you what happened when I divided a community leadership class into groups of white males, non-white males, white females and non-white females and then had them describe their community as a person.
NOTE: My next column in the Mississippi Business Journal will contain more on this subject. Until tomorrow – and Vol. 3.