Not a Communication Breakdown

“I think we are having a communication breakdown,” James shook his head.

“How, so?” I asked.

“My Sales Manager says the Operations Manager told him to stop selling, that Operatons was having trouble keeping up with the orders already in backlog.”

“That communication sounds pretty clear to me,” I replied.

“But, it’s creating friction between the two departments,” James said.

“I don’t think you have a communication problem. I think you have an accountability and authority problem.”

“What do you mean?” James wanted to know.

“Is the Sales Manager the manager of the Operations Manager?”


“Is the Operations Manager the manager of the Sales Manager?”


“So, you have two people who have to work together, but neither is each other’s manager. And, you failed to define, in that working relationship, what is the accountability and who has the authority to make which decisions. It looks like a communication breakdown, but it’s an accountability and authority problem.”

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