Reason #30 Why We Can’t Change: We Don’t Have the Time

fear change

My friends and colleagues at Change Agents Worldwide are kicking off a “blog carousel” to address all these reasons why organizations can’t change.  This list was carefully compiled by a Product Engineer of the Milwaukee Gear Company in 1959.  These objections still live on today in memos, meetings, analysis decks, and teleconference calls over a half-century later.

I decided to start with #30.  “We don’t have the time.”  This one always bugs me.  You’re busy; we know.  We’re busy too.  But, it really takes no time at all to participate on the social web and to communicate internally via a social channel.  Let me narrate this story via my friend, Jim Worth. Jim is CIO of a large industrial  manufacturer in the U.S.   A longtime member of The Society for Information Management (SIM), he recently  volunteered to do a presentation for his industry peers at the local  NJ SIM Chapter meeting.

Jim took the attendees through his decades-old IT leadership career from his 15 years at Philips Electronics, then Merck where he was introduced to social technologies, and Labcorp where has was most recently.  Jim’s a progressive guy who loves technology and loves the freedom and mobility of social tools and new gadgets.  He was one of my first recruits to our team for this reason.  But, heck.  THE GUY IS BUSY.  I can’t even begin to tell you what he has on his plate, plus he is an active cyclist, has a wonderful family, and maintains two lovely homes.  Jim’s presentation opened many eyes at the SIM meeting.  His colleagues were blown away by what he was showing them.  This was the first time they were exposed to his other persona as a “Social CIO.”  This issue of time came up after the usual issues of privacy and security.  He explains:

The questions then turned to, ‘How do you have time to do this?,’  ‘How can you keep up with it all?’  I said it does not take much time to be social.  Using a smartphone you can keep up and keep the conversation going all day.  Regarding keeping up, I said that I don’t.  It is like a waterfall of information and I catch a little in a cup, but that is better than missing out all together.  I said I would rather be tapped into this information flow and take some from it, instead of not being present to take part.

Through his example, Jim demonstrated that someone who had a job just like they did, who was in the same demographic as they are, had the same and more experience has they have, was able to demonstrate mastery of social tools and a profound understanding of the tenets of social working.  So, you do have the time.  You just need to know how to work and play out loud with online networking.  It’s good for your career, your life, and your peace of mind.

cross-posted from susanscrupski.com

Successful Networks Require a Cross-Disciplinary Team

It should come as no surprise that a one-dimensional approach to network “deployment” will yield lackluster results.  In the heyday of the Enterprise 2.0 movement, it was largely IT that introduced social networks to the workforce.  The mistake that many customers made in those early days was viewing social networks as a technology platform vs. an organizational catalyst for transformation.  Even if the initial use cases were solid, and vendors provided initial on-ramp training, the true power of a connected workforce would not emerge.  Social software is much more than the sum of its technical parts. In fact, you could argue the opposite is true. Organizations that took a multi-departmental approach to rolling out ESNs, have proven to be successful, are still growing, and have produced outsized returns to their organizations.

English: A diagram of a .
Diagram of a Social Network. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Learning to work in a connected, flat, transparent, and highly collaborative manner invariably surfaces tensions that require intra-organizational re-thinking.  They demand a new type of leadership.

Petty arguments that erupt over jurisdiction, approvals, roles, decision-making, authority, and budget allocation are exposed and rendered useless and highly unproductive when vibrant networks connect and share.  It’s one of the reasons why rigorous command and control, hierarchical models can’t survive in a healthy, transparent and functionally strong social network.

When we started assembling the members of Change Agents Worldwide, we knew we’d need a cross-disciplinary team that was equally adept at the mechanics and Zen of working in an open network, as well as experienced in the disciplines required to deliver true organizational change.  We’re also becoming more and more knowledgable about the science and practical application of Social Network Analysis (SNA). In mapping our own expertise,* you can see although we share many competencies, our social map demonstrates a visualization of the skills required to truly help large organizations take steps toward building a future workplace.

expertise
In this expertise map, a square signifies an area of expertise of one of our Change Agents. The larger the square, the larger the number of Change Agents (green dots) possess that expertise. A line between a circle and a square indicates a Change Agents possessing that expertise. Darker lines indicate greater degrees of expertise.

If your Enterprise Social Network has stalled, or you’re not seeing these outsized results, we can help you start extracting the value out of your existing investment.  If you truly want to experience what it feels like to be surrounded with this sort of expertise, we invite you to join us in our Green Room.  It’s free, and we will swarm you with ideas on how to approach your organizational issue.

 

*Special thanks to Change Agent Patti Anklam and Optimice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Change the Conversation

Ravens in Conversation

A large part of the history of our technology has been the effort to use technology to control human behaviour. Technology transformation is often sold on the potential to better make humans do things that they should be doing. The failure of so many transformational technology programs is proof that human behavioural changes are a subtler and more elusive challenge. Changing the conversation is as important as changing the process.

The Business Case for Technology Transformation

Leadership mindsets from the industrial era often lead to the management question:

“What can we do to make people do the right thing?’.

Technology transformation is sold on a promise of offering the answer. Too commonly management will choose a new technology system or process as delivering a way to make people ‘do better’. For example:

  • Customer Relationship Management systems will deliver better conversations with customers and better sales force productivity
  • Human resources systems will deliver better talent, engagement and performance conversations and better compliance with required processes
  • Business Process Management systems will enable better and more granular control of the processes that people use to do the work
  • Enterprise collaboration tools will make an organisation more collaborative
  • Knowledge management tools will make organisations better informed
  • Better analytical tools using big data will deliver better decisions in organisations

However, these technologies are usually only an infrastructure to support new behaviours and new conversations. Their capabilities underpin human behaviour. New processes will encourage change. New data capture and reporting may help measure activity. Without a willingness to change to new behaviours from users, the systems alone cannot make change without risk of major disruption or disengagement.

Technology rarely can require a new behaviour or a new conversation. Human creativity enables remarkable ways to cling to old ways in the face of new technology. Even to the extent that these technologies deliver better measurement of human activity, organisations are often frustrated to discover that the ability to measure and target activity simply generates activities to solely meet the measures, not behavioural change. Quantities are achieved as the cost of both productivity and quality.

Change the Conversation 

Changing the leadership question can have a dramatic impact on how an organisation makes decisions. Here’s a different question for management to ask about a transformation of technology:

‘What do our people need to better deliver our goals?’

There are a number of advantages that flow from changing the conversation around change and transformation in this way:

  • Engaging your users: Instead of assuming management or a technology vendor has the answers, the question opens up a conversations for people who do the work to contribute and learn. Treat your employees as skilled knowledge workers and respect their creativity and opinions. These people will have the best context on what is causing the issues and what support they need.  Engaging their input will be the most powerful element of change in performance. At the end of the day, the behaviours that need to change are theirs.
  • Change the leadership conversation: Shifting from a control mindset to one that is about realising the potential of the team is a powerful change in an organisational conversation. A transformation can be a key way to help accelerate this change in mindset. If employees feel trusted and are free to share, many people will highlight the way that the leaders themselves may need to change as part of that transformation too.  The best change begins with those seeking to drive change.
  • You may not need new tools or a new process: How many systems have been implemented to solve issues which were simply a lack of clarity of purpose or objectives of work? Do people need new skills or capabilities instead of new systems? Do people need new freedoms, approaches & leadership support to respond in an agile way to market needs? Consider alternatives and additional elements to enable the behaviour changes that arise.
  • Inconsistent demands on people:  Engaging your people in change will highlight areas where you are being inconsistent. In a siloed organisation systems often work at cross purposes. Are you sure that all the other elements of your systems & culture reinforce the right goals? For example, it is common for people in sales and service roles to experience that their time is used up with low value compliance tasks. As a result high value customer tasks will get pushed from the system. Forcing additional compliance will only make that worse. If performance management systems and the real leadership conversations in your organisation work against your new system, it is dead before it is even deployed.
  • Engaging outside the organisation: Do your customers want to give you the data that you need for your new CRM or analytics system? Does the change in sales approach or work process improve their experience as well? Will great talent be rewarded by working in your performance management system? Are you sure you can articulate the value of these changes to external stakeholders? Your people will need to do so. Your people’s reluctance to do your view of ‘the right thing’ might be saving you from broader issues with customers or other stakeholders.
  • Pace of change: Changing systems takes time. When will the system need to change again to adapt to a rapidly changing market? Are your people holding back because they can see the next change coming? Are you better to focus on your ability to change behaviours in more agile ways than through changing technology systems?

Technology transformation can be a powerful enabler of organisational change. However, it is merely an enabler. Changing the leadership conversation is often the critical element to ensuring the success of a transformational change.

This post has been cross-posted from simonterry.tumblr.com

Image source: http://pixabay.com/en/ravens-black-birds-conversation-236333/

The Future of Work is The Future of Leadership

An insight about the future of work dropped this morning as I discussed leadership in the network era with Harold Jarche and Jon Husband, my colleagues in Change Agents Worldwide.

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The Future of Work is the Future of Leadership

The future belongs not to the leadership of technology. The future belongs to the technology of leadership.

Our opportunity is not incremental improvement in the leadership of change to implement network technologies. Our opportunity is a much more important transformation of the critical human technology of leadership for the network era. Only new leadership capabilities & concepts will enable us to realise the potential of the future of work

Realising Human Potential is What Matters

If you are one of the thought leaders, consultants or vendors working to bring about the adoption of social collaboration technology, you know there is a raging debate about what changes in social and network technology means for organisations. However, there is much that is unclear in the debate about the future of work.  Social Business is deadnot dead or even not enough. The biggest challenge is adoption, lack of executive buy-in, return on investment or even organisation’s success. You need a collaboration layer, you need purposeful collaboration or you need cooperation instead.

If you are a manager in an organisation trying to achieve outcomes in a rapidly changing business climate, you most likely missed this entire conversation. The debate about the impact of social collaboration technology is not even on your radar (unless a consultant or vendor has caused you to reflect on it for a moment before you returned to the daily challenge of running your business).

What matters most to managers is more effective human collaboration – collaboration that improves the performance of your business for your customers and delivering better work experience for your people. Managers everywhere wish there were better ways to tap the talents, innovation and engagement of their people to help deliver better outcomes. That is at the heart of the discussion of employee engagement in our organisations.

The technology that engages people and realises potential is called leadership. That’s why so many investments are made by organisations in leadership development and in a push for leadership in every role. Leadership is the most effective technology to solve for the management wish.

Network Era Leadership Realises Human Potential

Work is a human task. Leadership is the work of mobilising others to action. Leadership is how we help people to realise their human potential. Much of our network and collaboration technology is just an infrastructure for the work and leadership required. The network can magnify the culture of the organisation, but we need the right leadership models for managers to realise the potential of a network era of work.

Traditional management & leadership approaches inherit many of their concepts from process models borrowed from the industrial era. In this mindset human potential is measured in productivity terms.  The command and control culture focuses on using the right processes to drive human productivity and align that productivity with the right tasks. The engines of human potential (engagement, knowledge creation, experimentation, innovation & enablement) are driven out as sources of volatility & waste. What many call leadership is better described as a process of command of people with an efficiency mindset. That is not leadership at all.

These traditional management concepts also get baked into organisational systems. We have built much technology to explicitly or implicitly reflect these industrial models of management and work. Look inside any organisation and you will find plenty of systems designed from the top-down that reinforce hierarchical command and control. Pull out your system process maps and look for your employee’s ability to do exception handling. In many cases there is no exception process. Exceptions are handled in hacks.

Transparency, responsiveness, the ability to work across silos and effectiveness are often surrendered to tight control of process, narrow measurement of process outcomes, compliance and efficiency. Critical systems in customer management and human resources systems offer some of the most striking examples of these constraints and are widely copied from organisation to organisation. To the frustration of everyone, managers and people must work around these systems to collaborate and cooperate effectively while managing waves of top down change management to bring them back to compliance with process.

The disruption of the networked era is evidence of the scale of change that networks are bringing to our lives. ‘Kodak Moment’ has an entirely new meaning today. This pace of change focuses our attention on a need for change in the concepts of leadership & organisation to support a changing world of work.

We need not focus much on the threats of this era. The opportunities of new models of work and leadership are greater. New network technologies give a glimpse of the potential for leaders to better leverage the people of organisations for work and innovation.  However, realising the potential of human collaborative and cooperative knowledge work in networks demands new leadership models.

We Know How to Start Leading in the Network Era

Each new era brings social changes and requires new more effective concepts. We updated the concepts of leadership and management at the birth of the industrial era, leveraging existing concepts from the military and other spheres of human life. Now people need to work to develop new models to leverage the infrastructure delivered by networks and collaboration technology.

The good news is that many of these concepts are already clear and have been developed by practitioners to the point where they are capable of application in everyday work. These practices now work highly effectively and can be taught. Managers now need to pick these up and build the capability in their people to lead in new ways, using:

  • Deeper self-awareness and understanding of human behaviour and drivers of high performance
  • A greater focus on systems and a wider view of outcomes and stakeholders
  • Purpose & Trust to enable leadership & followership in every role
  • Experimentation & Adaptation
  • Collaboration & Cooperation
  • Network models of work organisation like Wirearchy, Pods and Swarms
  • Social work and learning, such as personal knowledge managementworking out loud.

However, we cannot expect managers do to all the work alone. We will need to support them with learning, coaching and the opportunity to practice the new skills and mindsets.  We need to change the organisational systems and processes that hold back this opportunity to better leverage human potential.

Making these changes is the great challenge of leadership is in the new network era. It is the work I will be focused on with my colleagues in Change Agents Worldwide as we help others to navigate these changes.

The future of work is the future of leadership for everyone in organisations. Building a better more effective model of leadership will help realise the human potential of this future. Join the effort in your organisation to build a new technology of leadership to make this possible.

Press Clip: The New Visionaries Q&A

TEDxMidAtlantic 2011 - Stowe Boyd

Interview with GigaOm’s Stowe Boyd featuring Change Agents Worldwide‘s origins and mission. http://bit.ly/1hm0tW9

“The group’s vision is squarely centered on helping large companies transition from old world models established in the industrial era to modern network-based, agile models that improve not only the work experience for the workforce, but lead to top-line gains in innovation and growth. We are a small cadre of professionals from various disciplines (HR/learning, IT, Marketing, R&D, OD, KM, Innovation) who share the same vision and values, and we run our company in the way we’re advocating by putting these principles in practice.”

 

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New e-Book from Change Agents Worldwide

We’re pleased to release this collection of essays from a variety of our Change Agents who are changing the world of work. Whether they’re independent (Solo Change Agents) or working as part of a large organization (Enterprise Change Agents), 21 of our network members have provided their unique wisdom on what organizations can do to increase productivity, engagement, and provide richer workforce experiences in order to foster greater innovation and growth.

You can now download the e-Book for free.  Simply request a free copy and it will be immediately available to you.  


If you’d like to read the book on your Amazon Kindle, you can order it here for $1.99.

This is our first published piece.  We learned a lot in the process, and we have plans to write more books.  Stay tuned for announcements on future works and events from our Change Agents.  An easy way to do that is to sign up to receive our newsletter which will be coming out regularly starting this Friday.

 

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Passion is No Ordinary Word

[This is a bit of an insider post.  New blog readers, please bear with me.]

Here’s a question:  When did you first fall in love with Luis Suarez?  For me, it was sometime in 2006 or 2007.  I first wrote about him on my blog in 2007 after he unpacked a 7-part analysis of the famed Andy McAfee and Tom Davenport debate that I arranged in Boston at the inaugural Enterprise 2.0 Conference.

I tell a funny story about how the social web has changed the nature of business relationships that has to do with how I first met Luis in person for the very first time.  We were literally sitting in two tables next to each other, separated only by a lobby ficus tree.  Luis was tweeting that he was in the lobby hoping to connect.  I saw the tweet, turned my head, and literally JUMPED up to hug him with the fiercest, most caring hug that was appropriate for a hotel lobby.  It occurred to me in that moment how the social web has changed the fabric of business relationships.  In an earlier era, I would have quietly walked over to Luis, held out my hand for a firm shake and introduced myself. That world ended in 2007 for me.

I had a conversation today with a senior executive of a billion dollar company who expressed frustration about how he knows the world is heading toward the way we are working today in Change Agents Worldwide, but he must “deal” with the reality on the ground that is very far from our vision. He’s the voice and the will behind that change; he’s making it happen one tough day at a time.  I celebrate him.

Today, I’m delighted to fill in a piece of our Change Agents Worldwide puzzle.

puzzle 1 puzzle 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Luis’ words from way back in ’07:

That is why, to me, Enterprise 2.0 is not only revolutionalising the Enterprise, but also our own ways of life, because, after all, social computing is a philosophy, a way of life you breathe and learn to nurture, that inspires constant change that you rather embrace … or not. And at the end of the day, whether we like it or not, it would be a matter of choice to adopt it or not. And that choice is yours. And yours alone. So it would be up to you (And not higher up in the management chain), whether you would want to change your organisation or not, whether you would want to change your life or not. And if I were you, I would not wait for others to tell you about it…Make it happen!

Make it happen now!

It takes courage to quit your job.  It takes courage to stay in a job where so much is broken.  It takes courage to fight for the world we all want to work and live in.  But it takes heart and passion to make it happen.  I celebrate passion and will place high stake bets on it every time.

Welcome Luis.  The world is waiting for your kind of change.

 

Enterprise Social Network Haiku – of Course!

http://www.haikudeck.com/e/zyiBjGpBxO
Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

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Change Agent Rainer Gimbel is leading change for Evonik Industries AG, a leader in the Specialty Chemicals industry.  To convince 33,000 colleagues to change work habits they’ve used for the last 10-15 years, requires a lot of evangelizing, change management and sometimes… poetry.

 

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Corporate Rebels Unite!

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There are a number of enlightened individuals who are coming together to change the world of work.  We love what change agent Peter Vander Auwera created in Corporate Rebels United.

In his own words:

The main challenge is that the organizational anti-bodies always resist change, to be aware of this, and still keep on fighting.

The challenge is to move beyond some myths of change that sound good in a manifesto, but that have little or no effect in actual viral change at scale in organizations.

The challenge is to act like a real swarm, like a virus that “infects” the organization at scale from deep within its own fabric.

The challenge is to “activate” our people into doing, to create a do-ocracy.

The challenge is to optimize the swarm for speed, trust and scalability between idea and action. The challenge is to make sure that everybody feels included.

The challenge is to maintain one value set and one value base.

The challenge is to be respectful.

The challenge is to be relentless and persistent.

The challenge is to remain kind.

The challenge is to have the courage to stand for your true self, every day again.

– Peter Vander Auwera