Is your organization stifling upward communication?

Here are common ways that an internal culture stanches the flow of vital information from workers on the front lines. Do these sound familiar?

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The CEO and the CFO sat in opposite corners of the room. Each stuck a hand into the air when I called for questions at the end of my speech.

Why don’t employees communicate upward in an organization?” the CEO asked, with a tinge of frustration. The CFO added, ” My question exactly!”

It’s a common question—from even the best-liked and brightest leaders in and out of the boardroom—and it deserves serious thought, because when downward communication dominates, problems typically go unaddressed and innovation stalls.

Eventually poor internal communication shows up to the customer as poor service or defective products. So, let’s look at the root causes:

1. No system

Some organizations say they want employees to give feedback; to pass along ideas for new products or services, cost-cutting ideas and flagrant policy violations; and to let senior managers know how to improve things in general.

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