Don’t Trust Them

I found a fascinating article on Euronews about the state of America’s security agencies.  As well as the FBI and the CIA there are 14 other agencies, all of which report through to the “Director of National Intelligence”.

Apparently what these 16 agencies don’t know between them isn’t worth knowing.

The failings in US counter terrorism efforts have not been caused by a lack of knowledge but by lack of communication and focus, in turn caused by the intense rivalry between the different agencies.  The FBI and CIA have both been taken to task about not sharing what they knew before the 9/11 tragedy.

Having worked for several large organisations this doesn’t surprise me.  Sales teams are often loathed to tell the manufacturing guys how much they expect to sell but everybody bitches like crazy when they run out of stock.  The Finance boys invariably have 3 different financial plans up their sleeves depending on who they are talking to.  And let’s be honest, nobody really trusts HR.

What about organisational design makes this happen?  Is it the way people are targeted? The way we manage functional silos not delivery to the customer?  The way we reward individuals for building internal power structures?

What could we do to the way our organisations are designed that would improve trust and communication?

The enemy is not within.


Image by qwrrty

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