At the culture change project at AMR Corp., Committing to Leadership, we had this wonderful computer-based business simulation. It was programmed to simulate the operation of a real workplace, with crises facing the executive every day, serious budget issues, information coming from many quarters, partial information, and tough decisions.
One way to “win” the simulation every time was for the executive to take a spin around the organization every morning and collect all the gossip — at the big presses, at the coffee bar, at the water fountain, in the stairwells, in the restrooms. Inaccurate gossip always stuck out and could be dismissed; accurate gossip always was more accurate than other sources. I pulled out my old business communication text we taught from at the University of Arizona (back in the early Cretaceous) which stressed the use of “informal communication channels,” and found the exercise fun and stimulating. Those who genuinely listen to to news from the unofficial channels stand a better chance of getting things right. (We switched to a different business simulation more suited to group cooperation, The Flying Starship Factory, which I highly recommend).
It’s a great carnival, not only because a post from the Bathtub is featured. As we head back to school over the next four weeks, stopping to peruse this particular Carnival of Education would be a good idea.