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September 16, 2010
Diagonal Engagement Teams

Technology News, of all places, has a good post on employee communication -- "Five Tips to Engage Employees." It's focused on focus groups, which are, indeed, an effective means of gathering employee sentiment and identifying interest priorities. However, there's a focus group variant that's even more effective in promoting employee involvement in organizational aims --  a Diagonal Communications Team.

A Diagonal Team is a slice down and across an organization, from the chief executive to functional managers and the "lowliest" secretary or maintenance crew member. When a diagonal team meets regularly -- monthly is a good interval --  candor and confidence in corporate aims is a likely result. Diagonal team meetings can be an excellent means of identifying informational needs and interest priorities throughout an organization. Employees are encouraged to share ideas in freewheeling conversations that can surface issues needing attention. 

The chief executive needs to give diagonal team meetings real priority and listen well as they unfold, but they can be very helpful in identifying functional issues and information needs across complex organizations, and build engagement with a corporation's best interests. 

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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