I was asked to put together a very fast deck suitable for internal evangelism – something that someone could use to convince other (technical) people in the organization that collaborative technology was something they should care about. I had one day to do it. Here it is – I’ll be working on it to make it more convincing, would value your opinions.
So we all talk about the benefits of collaboration (or at least all of us within a very narrow circle), but I rarely hear any discussion of one of the most critical components to unlocking potential productivity.
Most knowledge workers I know (and this varies widely with where they work) do not feel as though they are living to their potential.
When people have a sense of mission, that they are striving toward something meaningful, and that their contribution is making a significant difference along that path, then they are motivated and focused. They make decisionss, they don’t waste time, they are excited to be there.
This is the role of leadership. To ensure tht people have a mission and a vision that makes sense to them and that it is clear to them how their work forwards those goals.
Another great thing this does is to help people make the many decisions they need to in a way that will always tilt toward the goal. Including finding problems or challenges that would prevent the organization from reaching that goal, and sharing them in a way that they can be addressed and solved.
FOr example. I’ve never seen a team get really excited about “we’re going to launch these 10 features by March or else!!” Woohoo! rallying cry. Nope. And every one of you knows it.
Now try “We’re going to take this product to the next level, and become the most useful widget this market has ever dreamed of. And we can do it by getting these 10 things done”. Better.
A collaborative environment helps people get constant affirmation that their expertise is useful and their work is valuable. A well lead collaborative organization has a fine set of leaders at every level who understand that their role is to have a mission and include their team in it.
A collaborative environment keeps people engaged and focused on the work at hand – and that makes people happy. Really. There are several books on the subject. One of the most readable is called “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience“, though there are many academic articles and books on the subject.
So imagine a workplace where the vast majority of people are engaged, valued, “Flowing”, toward your corporate mission. Would that be more productive than what you have today?
This is the goal of enterprise 2.0. A fully engaged workforce where the product of that work is instantaneously available where its needed anywhere in the organization.
if people understand media management at all, its usually in its most basic form – an asset repository where you back it up and make it searchable via metadata. this concept hardly makes the ante in the digital media space these days, but this mundane concept is amusingly portrayed here:
Its a whole new world with all sorts of new twisty things to work out – at work too.
So – this collaborative culture we’re promoting and developing – its new, and people are banging around the middle and the edges.
Case in point. We, in our englightenedness, have a system (that you will certainly hear more about soon) where it takes approximately 3 seconds to set up a community. The community has a participant list, a wiki, a discussion feed and can hold docs.
There’s a (small) team that built a community to support a specific goal. They’re experimenting and trying to fly under the radar. One member – a well meaning one to be sure – wants them to “open” the group to the wide world, especially the team we can call the “broad responsibilities” team.
So – are they being open and transparent? No. Is that wrong? Maybe not.
Who is your team?
Your team is the set of people with whom your goals are aligned.
This implies that you have different teams for different goals.
You also have your day to day team, the slightly broader stakeholders team, and the general wide world of potentially interested parties team. They are all legitimate, and good things come from each.
But is transparency and collaboration the same across all three teams? Should it be?
Is it legitimate to want to fly under the radar? Or is this inherently anti-collaborative? What is the purpose of collaboration, and how is it affected by this sort of thing?
These dramas and many more will fold and unfold as we go forward. The good news, is that we’re learning a lot. The bad news is that learning is sometimes, uh, eventful.
My gut feeling is that there’s a place for small, insulated teams to do some experimentation, but at some point the insulation should come off. Or even better – what if this team was visible to others, but only if they were searching for a relevant term, tag or person – a sort of need to know filter? This wouldn’t be hiding, but not explicitly inviting participation unless there’s a reason.
I think at the very least its a great opportunity to dig into the value prop of collaboration a little deeper, and see what emerges.
Ok – half of the people involved are going to read this, so fire at will…