--> Gill Blog: Rice's Testimony Confirms System-Wide Communication Challenges

Gill Blog

Friday, April 09, 2004

Rice's Testimony Confirms System-Wide Communication Challenges

As intense global media attention was focussed on the 9-11 hearings in Washington yesterday, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice explained to the 10-member committee that although there were many warning signals of an impending attack within the United States, there was no "silver bullet" that could have prevented the attacks. As quoted in today's Guardian:
"[Dr. Rice] blamed the failure to catch the al-Qaida hijackers before the attack on long-term bureaucratic barriers which prevented the sharing of information between the CIA and FBI."
The Gill blog is not a political forum, but I thought it would be interesting to cite this quote as it directly ties in with our last post about the need to improve communication between different operational nodes. In that post, we noted that Canadian Auditor-General Sheila Fraser had pointed to serious communication breakdowns between operational nodes. Apparently, the problem isn't just confined to isolated governments, but is indeed much more widespread.

Prior to Dr. Rice's testimony, our change management specialist Jo Verde from CAMTOS Solutions offered her comments on the widespread communication problems that exist in organizations at all levels. As Jo said to me:
"The bottom line is that none of the organizations mentioned or indeed any business, will effect any behavioral change in turf protection, power silos until the recognition, rewards and penalty processes are put in place to support the values,strategy and expected behaviors.

Organizations, today, talk about the behaviors but few support them with the required internal processes. Many organizations include teamwork as one of their values but haven't defined what that looks like, feels like or the supporting behaviors a company expects to see demonstrated. Until this is defined so that everyone on the team clearly understands the expectation, we will see, experience and be involved ourselves, in situations that you describe in your blog."
Don't know about you, but it seems to me that Jo would be a pretty good advisor to the National Security Advisor, and the Canadian Auditor-General, in proposing a basis for system-wide change.


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