Thomas Countz

Communication Superhighways

Good communication in an emergency is vital: What is happening? Who is leading? Where are we meeting? Et al. Just like firefighters, who use highways instead of local roads to get to a burning building more quickly, our teams should leverage communication highways to respond efficiently in the face of an emergency.

This communication infrastructure isn’t just logistical: you may have a dedicated chat channel, video conference URL, or a paging system already. Designing communication superhighways is also about investing in our workplace environment and ultimately in each other.

Cognition and emotion are tightly intertwined, which means that [we] must design with both in mind. (Norman, 2013).

How we feel about our work with one another will greatly influence our ability to work together when things are difficult—if I don’t feel comfortable or confident communicating about our work when there isn’t an emergency, how do you think we’ll get along when there is one?

In practice, this looks like investing in maintaining a healthy workplace environment, team collaboration, transparency, accountability, and responsible incentives. Going into each of these are beyond the scope of this essay—instead, I’ll leave you with this: ethically, we should all be working towards keeping our team dynamic positive and healthy, but capitalistic incentives being what they are, we could all do well to remember that those team outings really do help your bottom line.

Norman, D. A. (2013). The design of everyday things. MIT Press.

· process, teams, consulting