Interdisciplinary Communication

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During and shortly after the 2008 financial meltdown, when large companies were unraveling, and small & medium size companies continued to hold up the economy, I decided that there was a need to help small and medium size companies to have continued growth and sustainability. Our research clearly determined that communication or lack of was at the core when measuring success or failure Our focus became clear in how to help our targeted clients understand which we tagged as Interdisciplinary Communication (IC). More times than not we are asked what exactly IC is and why it is valued so highly in turning a company around. We were surprised by the question but realized very quickly why companies that have the right business model, the right Product/Technology/Services and the right market fail as frequently as they do.

Business analysts have taken centuries to provide theories on how well-run businesses reach a consistent level of success. Understanding how they do this with a measurable successful outcome was the first step in evaluating whether we could assist clients by providing them with the tools they needed. Our research concluded that most companies in our test model had the right Product/Technology/Service and understood what their impact on the market would be. In many cases, they had sufficient capital to get them to the point that would help them launch their business. However, failure rates remained high. WHY?

We found that a prevailing problem was that Founders/Inventors positioned themselves as Senior Management. Although very skilled and talented in their
Product/Technology/Service, they were unprepared to run a company. Their lack of experience and understanding of the importance of interdisciplinary functionality within their company’s departments did not facilitate the transactional processes needed to achieve success. Each of these departments, Accounting, Marketing, Sales, Manufacturing, Human Capital and Finance are integral to running a company. Each department requires communications that trigger processes that meet the needs and demands of the market place. Senior management must understand the functionality of these disciplines and above all must realize that the channels of communications must never be circumvented or shut down. If they are, failure is a predictive outcome. This understanding brought about the reason we embraced and labeled the term and function “Interdisciplinary Communication” (IC).

I’m sure that you have heard or have been a part of these often made complaints: Sales didn’t tell Manufacturing of about a major order deadline; Legal hasn’t drawn up the correct contract; Finance hasn’t created the credit lines needed to access capital for the materials; Accounting hasn’t set up the required information to establish credit requirements and transaction history. I think you get what is happening here. Senior Management must recognize the importance of each discipline and how they work together in order to run a successful business. They must understand what each department requires in order for it to execute transactions vital to successful functioning.  Departments should be talking to each other and Management should know what they should be talking about. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Department heads have the skill and talent to run their respective disciplines, but Senior Management must understand what happens when any of these disciplines falls short in their contribution or fails to communicate in a timely and effective way with each other.

Interdisciplinary Communication (IC) is what holds companies together. Senior Management must spot failures in their channels of communication and correct them before they become a problem that will affect the company’s position in the market place. Senior Management must never overlook interdepartmental communication problems. And if they can’t fix it, they should get help.

There is a section in Robert Greene’s book “Mastery” that I would like to leave you with:


To learn requires a sense of humility. We must admit that there people out there who know our field much more deeply than we do. Their superiority is not a function of natural talent or privilege, but rather of time and experience. Their authority in the field is not based on politics or trickery. It is very real. But if we are not comfortable with this fact, if we feel in general mistrustful of any kind of authority, we will succumb to the belief that we can just as easily learn something on our own, that being self-taught is more authentic. We might justify the attitude as a sign of our independence, but in fact it stems from basic insecurity. We feel, perhaps unconsciously, that learning from Masters and submitting to their authority is somehow an indictment of our own natural ability. Even if we have teachers in our lives, we tend not to pay full attention to their advice, often preferring to do things our own way. In fact, we come to believe that being critical of Masters or teachers is somehow a sign of our intelligence, and that being a submissive pupil is a sign of weakness.

Understand: all that should concern you in the early stages of your career is acquiring practical knowledge in the most efficient manner possible.

[i] Mastery 2012 author Robert Green; publisher – Viking