What is coordination and why is it so important to effective networks?

As the world gets more complex and connected, calls to coordinate increase. But why? What does coordination allow us to do together that we cannot do alone?

5 months ago   •   2 min read

By Ana Jamborcic, Christina Bowen, Socialroots,

To build a healthy network, you have to have small teams that make up the network, like bricks in a house. Our advisor, Jay Carmona, often reminds us that the better teams are at self-managing and coordination, the stronger the brick is and the bigger your network can become.

Riffing off of Peter Drucker’s take on “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”, our friend Philip Sheldrake quipped that…

Talking = work
Talking about talking = coordination (management)
Talking about talking about talking = strategy

We think coordination is the mortar needed to hold those bricks together, preventing silos, duplication of work, confusion, and more.

Let’s unpack this. 

You know you’re doing work if you do most of your talking using some kind of real-time communication. Maybe you have a small team you’re working with or a discussion channel. You probably have a safe space to talk openly without worrying what others not on your team will think. Most team communication technology is built for this purpose. (e.g. What’sApp, Slack, Discord, Teams, etc.)

If you need to coordinate, you are probably talking about talking. This work can sometimes feel more like project management, although it doesn’t have to be super formal. You may find yourself building charts or to do lists. Tools that sometimes get used for this include things like white boards, task boards, email threads, or community portals, forums, and discussion boards. Coordination is the process of defining the who and the what of the work that needs doing.  

You know you’re doing coordination work when you find yourself asking…

  • What is the goal of my work?
  • Who else is working on this?
  • Who is going to help me?
  • Who will use this work?
  • What question do I need to answer to move things forward?
  • How do I want to do this work?

Before and after you do real-time work, you are coordinating. If you’re coordinating well, you are probably checking in with others before you start work, and then also letting them know when you’ve completed something. 

Without processes and infrastructure for coordination, any attempt at strategy is doomed. Strategy defines the goals and processes of the work: the why and the how. Without coordination, strategy or “talking about talking about talking” becomes really hard.

The goal of Socialroots and the technology is to make coordination much easier and faster. 

Want to learn more?

Here’s a helpful article to get you started on the basics of communicating for effective coordination

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