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Teams should ask: What information do we need? Why do we need it? Where and when can it be found? Who will get it, and from whom? This takes information shopping list to a new level, without necessarily adding a lot of time to process. With specifics identified, gathering information should be quicker and easier.
On a related topic, technology opens up a number of interesting opportunities for better communication in such an environment. Email, discussion groups, and internal databases offer ways to get and give critical information.
On a smaller and less chaotic scale, I've set up several closed, Internet discussion groups for associations with which I volunteer. They provide excellent forums for discussion between meetings or other get-togethers.
Perhaps biggest challenge is to create electronic mechanisms that actively draw out information, rather than just passively route it to participants. One way of doing this might be to set up groups in which requests for information are posted and answered.
While such a process might not work for some organizations, thrust behind it should work for most. That is, we can build effective communication systems when we start with a strategic approach, working backward from our objectives to things we will do.
In summary, even in chaotic environments, we can develop systems that lead to good communication, allowing us to get and give critical information.
Robert F. Abbott writes and publishes Abbott's Communication Letter. Learn how you can use communication to help achieve your goals, by reading articles or subscribing to this ad-supported newsletter. An excellent resource for leaders and managers, at: http://www.communication-newsletter.com