It’s not a communication problem; it’s​ independence and silos

You probably heard many times that communication is the primary challenge in any organizations. Every survey that I saw had communication as one of the primary opportunities for improvement. Yet, it doesn’t matter what you are going to do to improve communication; it is still going to be on the top 5 list of improvement.

When a problem is persistent over time and tends to stay regardless of the efforts put in place to resolve the problem, It is usually an indication that there is something more fundamental in the system we are using. Communication is not an exception.

The value of independence is deeply ingrained in our brain. I’m an independent and free human being. Like everything else in life independence has advantages and disadvantages. If I’m independent, if I can choose to do whatever I want, I’m not dependent on others. I don’t need to get into their world, to understand them. As long as I’m following the norms, I can do whatever I want without communicating with others.

So, if I’m independence why I can’t be independence at work? Well, apparently most of us are independence at work. Because we are indep​endent we tend to focus on our role, to do it the best as we can. But, following independence we are not interested, involved or care what other people are doing (unless it’s part of our role). We create many silos within silos in organizations. We group people based on their knowledge and experience in departments (silos), and we define to each person his role (yet another silo).

The problem is that the concept of independence is in our brain, but not in reality. The moment that you are leaving your house you depend on other people. You depend on people that sharing the pavement with you, you depend on other drivers on the road and you depend on your co-worker. This dependency required communication. But, our mental model of independence is stronger than reality.

Instead of touching the real cause of communication, instead of understanding that we are all dependent on each other, instead of realizing that there aren’t any linear relations just circular bi-directional, instead of making a profound and hard change we found a scapegoat: communication.

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