A high degree of informal communication in a business is the key to excellence.


One of 3M’s executives says, ‘We just plain talk to each other a lot, without paper or formal rigmarole.’


Getting management out of the office is a major contributor to informal exchanges. One large company labels it ‘Visible Management’ or ‘Management by Walking Around’ (MBWA).


One bank noted that the old split between ‘Operations’ and ‘Loans’ was solved when everyone in the group moved to the same floor with their desks intermingled.


3M sponsors clubs for groups of ten or so employees for the sole purpose of increasing the probability of unexpected problem-solving sessions at lunchtime and in general.


Corning Glass installed escalators from floor to floor to increase the chance of face-to-face contact between their people.


What does it add up to? Lots of communication.

Rich informal communication within a business leads to more action, more experiments, more learning and the ability to stay better in touch and on top of things.


Source: In Search of Excellence, Peters & Waterman p 121-122