The Dragon Reborn - Chapter 11 [#100Days, Day 83]

First Reports Are Always Wrong

    Verin, Egwene, Elayne, Nynaeve, Hurin and a very sick Mat arrive in Tar Valon.  While not in complete chaos, the outlying villages are the sites of stand-offs between the Tar Valon guards and the Whitecloaks.  Inside the city proper, the daily hubbub is drowned out in some places by rumors and reports from other lands.

    "Pardon, Aes Sedai, but you've obviously come from a distance.  Have you any news?  Fresh rumors come upriver with every trading vessel.  They say there's a new false Dragon out west somewhere.  Why, they even say he has Artur Hawkwing's armies, back from the dead, following him, and that he killed a lot of Whitecloaks and destroyed a city - Falme, they call it - in Tarabon, some say."
    "They say Aes Sedai helped him!" a man's voice shouted from the waiting line.  Hurin breathed deeply, and shifted himself as if he expected violence. ...
    "Rumors are seldom true," Verin told him.  "I can tell you that Falme still stands.  It isn't even in Tarabon, guardsman.  Listen less to rumor, and more to the Amyrlin Seat.  The Light shine on you."

Verin, The Dragon Reborn, p. 106 - 107

    Even without modern communication methods, news and rumors travel quickly.  It's no different, really, than the "Telephone Game" we played as children: take a long line of children, form them in a line, and whisper a sentence at the beginning.  At the end of the line, the original thought is so twisted and garbled, it's often complete and utter nonsense.  Remember that communication is a two way process - just as garbled nonsense can reach the CEO's ears; so too can the CEO's message get corrupted and fragmented once it reaches the rest of the workforce.  Even among teams, communications can get fractured and confused.  Understanding the interactions and nodes of communication is so important that Project Management Institute has over 700 articles keyworded to communication.  And an equation that candidates for PMP Certification are required to memorize:

Number of (potential) communications channels = [n(n-1)]/2; where n is number of stakeholders

    So, for a team of 10 that's 45 potential communications avenues.  Doubling the team to 20 more than quadruples the potential communications channels to 190!  A "tiny" organization of 50 has 1,225 potential internal comms pathways alone - no wonder news travels quickly and gets distorted.  Understanding the complexity of communications is critical to developing a habit of asking questions driving to the truth to get the organization focused on solving the right issues.  Not the issue someone heard about that one time.

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