Memo: Important Notice concerning new open door policy
To: All employees:
It has come to our attention that someone in the company recently slammed their finger in one of the doors at the office. This is unacceptable.
Therefore, effectively immediately, we have requested that everyone remove the door to their office; we will also have the doors removed from the front entrance and all rest-room/public areas.
We desire to prevent this unfortunate event from ever happening again.
Thank you for your cooperation.
PS. There's a rumor that someone got their finger caught in a file drawer; we cannot have this happening. If you have information about this, please come forward. If verified, we will immediately remove all file drawers from the premises, too.
What if that were a true announcement? How would you respond?
Obviously, I paraphrased a true story to illustrate my point, however, I've only slightly changed the facts of a real situation that I see all too often in my eProductivity consulting practice.
Now, consider that the issue was not about doors, but about doorways to information. What if management decided to greatly limit how employees accessed the information they needed to get their job done, simply in reaction to a problem?
What if management looked at the problem differently, with the objective of finding a way to solve it in a context that allows people to get the information that they need, when they need it, and where they need it, while at the same time, addressing security and information integrity concerns that management may have? Wouldn't that be more productive?
Ever heard of the "Shoot the messenger" syndrome, where the bearer of bad news gets executed for reporting the news? (Nevermind that it was his job).
In this case, the messenger is the collaborative tool or process and the shooting is done by creating policies counterproductive to knowledge work.
I never cease to be amazed at the new and creative ways that management can find to kill collaboration or squash productivity by overreacting to a problem encountered.
I'm preparing for an upcoming speech and I would like to collect some real-life examples of how bad policy decisions by management have killed collaboration. I invite you to post your stories here. Feel free to do so anonymously, if you wish. I'm just looking for examples.