For the ones interested here are my slides from today’s gig at one of Europe’s leading conferences around collaboration & the Digital Workplace:
Summary: Berlin, October 1st and 2nd 2015. The European practitioners for modern intranets, social business collaboration and the Digital Workplace gathered in Berlin to exchange on their experience and share insight & learning. As part of the conference I had the opportunity to host a “World Café” session on stakeholder management. This article captures the essence of our discussion.
The framing of the session
I used a little drawing to introduce my personal learning from the past years in the field. From my experience the key layout of stakeholders exists on three levels:
It’s 2015 and the top management (c-level, board room) have bought into the fact that companies have to break up silos. Globalisation is reality and collaboration/communication has to bridge geographical and functional distance. Digital Business Agility (read about this in one of my previous posts) is essential in highly competitive markets.
The people in business operations drive from bottom up. They have a solid understanding on how connectedness and collaboration can improve business success. They are desperate for a more integrated world, improved information management and the ability to work independent from time, place or device – no matter if Generation Y or Silver Surfer.
Squeezed in-between is the middle management. They either get left out in the process from “let’s get connected” to “this is the new connected world” or they are not measured based on the new paradigms. Middle management happens in Excel and PowerPoint, in an abstraction of the real world and represents the “channel” TO the top management. In addition to that it’s a rough world. It’s competitive and not everyone (aka only a very very few) are willing to take risk and accountability for change. They are the ones that we have to really care for. They get caught in politics, games and objective struggles. “What’s in for me” gets more and more important on this particular level in the stakeholder map.
This will become particularly important if our ambition is to further increase the work and business criticality of intranet, Digital Workplace. Then accountability and governance have to be with the middle management. They will be in charge of making it work for the organisation. Therefore we need have to have middle management on board as of day one and make it theirs.
The conversation’s essence
Everyone agreed that more time has to be invested in understanding the real stakeholder map and how they stand with regards to the subject (supporter, promoter, opponent, neutral and/or allies)
Finding the right “value proposition” for the various stakeholder functions is key to get them on board and keep them on along the entire journey.
Executives and top management have to adjust success measurement and KPI to make “connectedness” and “networking of knowledge and people” part of the actual middle management scope of work. The fact that effectiveness will provide competitive edge has to start trumping the “just get it done” attitude.
We have to accept the fact that “business ownership” doesn’t come through a title when it comes to stakeholders for the Digital Workplace. A director is not in the middle of things. Field managers are. They are the ones that primarily seek enablement and support from digital services. We need to have them on board to ensure that “user centricity” is built into the project.
If you have opponents or “disbelievers” in the stakeholder center, get them close to you. Give them a key role, a key stake and the opportunity to shine with the project. Thereby you turn them through pure opportunism…and it’s WIN/WIN.
Pursuing something that has an impact through work criticality will lead to politics. And politics. And politics. Be prepared and don’t expect “yes” to mean “yes” or “I am in” to stand for “I will throw all necessary resource at you”. The future Digital Workplace is cultural and corporate change…and it’s political.
The conversation cards & transcript
We’ve collected a lot of angles on stakeholder management. Below the little moderation wall you can find a (more or less) transcript from the cards collected during the sessions (5 groups attended, approx. 50 participants in total).
A little transcript of the World Cafe Wall
In a previous post on the NO FEAR community I have tried to connect Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to leadership in transforming enterprises. McKinsey’s 2014 article on The Seven Traits of Effective Digital Enterprises has inspired me to translate their angle into an inside perspective. How would the seven traits resonate on dealing with the internal digital transformation and the future of information and knowledge work?
Here’s my (pretty extensive…sorry) this week’s take on traits 1 to 4:
McKinsey says: The age of experimentation with digital is over. (…)To succeed, management teams need to move beyond vague statements of intent and focus on “hard wiring” digital into their organization’s structures, processes, systems, and incentives.
I have experienced the same over the past year. No matter which industry, size or mode of operations, almost all companies are done with their experiments on community building, social networks and virtual teamwork. Vision statements of “fully connected enterprises” and the “one big committed family approach” become less and less. They are replaced by initiatives going after business productivity, effectiveness and growth. It has become almost impossible to get anything off the ground with a proper connection to business logic and challenges. Just recently the extend of this new take on the subject became even more obvious to me. One of my clients decided to start a parallel stream on organizational change in order to adjust formal role descriptions to address content accountability in the context of an intranet re-launch. That change will be necessary to ensure that the new service is able to generate the desired long-term impact and value.
1. Be unreasonably inspirational
McKinsey says: Make someone accountable at the board level; create a stretch vision; measure digital value, not digital interactions
Let me start with the last statement. I think it’s time to move away from measuring internal digital services like we used to measure external social media in the early days. It doesn’t matter how many people are part of a community, how many blogs are out there or how many likes a document gets. In order to understand the value generated through connecting people and intellectual assets we have to surface the impact of those connections: less time used to do the usual work, more business generated through inter-departmental knowledge exchange on a client, shorter time to market by taking previous experience (and failure!!) into account. For that we don’t really need the stretch vision. We need the commitment to change. We need executives and middle management to accept and name shortcomings in order to address them. We need baselines that progress and success can be measured against.
To get that commitment, internal change and the Digital Workplace need board attention as well. As soon as “digital” gets connected to currently “non-digital” business logic executive buy-in is required. Otherwise initiatives are “dead in the water” from the start. However, I am not sure if one person on the board that is really committed is enough. I wish that all board functions would take on their stake and responsibility in driving and leading change. I agree that most of the time you need one disruptive person that keeps questioning the status quo and acts as the catalyst for change. Nevertheless, operations, finance, HR, marketing…they all have to play an active role in the internal transformation because they all will be affected short, mid and long term.
2. Acquire capabilities
McKinsey says: Buy scarce talent en masse; hire for digital skills, not industry experience; move into adjacent markets
What this statements triggers with me first is the fight for talent and the pretty common perception that the Digital Natives are the ones that we have to satisfy to ensure the corporate future. As much as I agree with the first fact – if it comes to attracting talent the beauty contest now happens on the employer side – I am a little more careful with the second one.
Companies do need people that live connectedness and that have no fear to reach out and interact with large, unknown audiences. We need the ones that see the bigger picture and that will not understand why individual objectives should trump collaborative success. However, we have to build the bridge to today’s key protagonists in the corporate value chain. The ones that have been indoctrinated to think “me” first and disregard the potential of helping others if it doesn’t suit the personal – or even worse: the top manager’s – objectives. To change their way of thinking will take time. They ARE the industry experience. The HAVE the yearlong work and relationship management experience.
To connect that existing asset with the tremendous and almost infinite potential that lies within the future of information and knowledge work is the key for success. It’s the key for growth, profitability and competitive advantage.
3. Ring fence and cultivate talent
McKinsey says: Protect digital talent from “business as usual”, don’t rely on existing HR models
Ok…”hell NO and hell YEAH!” to this statement.
Hell NO! Please do not “ring fence” digital talent. Turn them into catalysts, into change agents, into relentless drivers and nurturers of change. Please. Don’t create internal silos and competition between connected and digitalized departments and the old fashioned “they way we have it done for the past 30 years” ones. The ultimate power for internal changes does not lie within competition. It lies in helping each other to transform and go new ways.
Hell YEAH! goes to the HR piece of the statement. Even though it might sound harsh, I have to admit that looking back to my career I haven’t come across that many HR departments that acted FOR talent instead of AGAINST cost. A lot of conversations around the subject even give me the confidence that this perception is only limited to me. Too many HR departments act too much on the R than on the H side. They have been turned into risk mitigation and process/policy enforcement departments. There aren’t that many HR departments out there that have a dedicated accountability to interfere with “business as usual” and make sure that talent is identified and grown – even if it means to re-allocate people because they were hired for the wrong job (not the wrong company!!).
In the age of internal digital transformation HR departments have to take on new responsibilities. They have to help existing talent to transform and new talent to balance their will to force change with the abilities of the organization. They have to find a way to identify the connectors, the spiders in the corporate network, the ones that have the ability to lead without a title. Then we will have an HR organization in place that is an integrative and essential part of the transformation of companies in truly digital enterprises.
4. Challenge everything
McKinsey says: Don’t accept historical norms; question the status-quo; create a plan covering every function, product, business unit and location
There we go. Basically I should just say: yes, exactly. Nevertheless I would like to elaborate a key learning of my past years in the field. If you talk to executives they are happy to look ahead. Their job is to pave the way to the future or rather line out the goal to which a path has to be paved out. If you talk to the work force – in particular the high performers – you will get serious buy in and will to change and break the old norms. Change is good. Tomorrow shall be brighter than today.
Resistance comes from middle management. That resistance however, shouldn’t be mistaken for being “not willing” or “incapable” to change and break norms. The “need for and momentum of change” simply reaches them. Their objectives stay function focused and KPI driven in order to make it easy for their superiors to evaluate the course and steer the boat. Sometimes you cannot blame anyone for really…because why would you make your life more complicated than actually necessary, right?
If we want to “change everything”, if we want to have a “plan covering every function”, if we want to break down silos and old norms of thinking we have to manage our organizations exactly according to that aspiration. Make “my” success impossible if “our” success is hindered by it. Formalize it. Turn individual goals and KPIs into collaborative measures and objectives throughout all levels. Don’t think quarterly EBIT, think long term knowledge retention and utilization. Don’t allow talent to trickle form the organization as soon as it becomes clear that the “human resource” will be the core of the next savings round. Rest assured: the ones that can swim and are able to reach the next shore are the ones to leave first if the boat is clearly going down. You are always left with the ones that couldn’t be bothered in the first place.
I know I am asking a lot here. But I’ve seen this change and new way of thinking happen and I believe that we will see it happen a lot more in the future.
To be continued…
Next time I will be dealing with the left over three traits:
- Be quick and data driven
- Follow the money
- Be obsessed with the customer
I think I have rarely been that nervous on stage… So first of all I have to apologize to Prof. Carnabuci for slaughtering his name after I made him my source of inspiration for the start of my talk… Secondly I have to thank the TEDxTUHH team for forcing me through endless rounds of rehearsal – looks like one or two additional rounds wouldn’t have been a bad idea. Anyway…here we go 🙂
PS: the balloon story…I would have liked to support it with a little drawing…but the pen said “no” 😉 the stones I am talking about are with me IN the balloon…in case that doesn’t come across
Summary: over the last months I have been confronted with almost the same question in various cases: “People don’t read what we publish. What can we do?” Unfortunately I have only come to one – not always embraced – recommendation that I keep repeating: “Make relevance more visible and accept that some information means nothing to some you might like to see as your target group.”.
The major challenge: relevance to operational work.
In many articles I have emphasised that the key to a valuable digital workplace lies in its clear and tangible support of the work that information and knowledge workers do every day. Thinking about the “communication intranet”, so the part of a digital workplace that is meant to provide important information to employees, I might have to specify my thoughts a little but more.
In one of my last workshops I came up with a little sketch:
It’s read like this: there are three connections of information to the work of an individual.
- Support: it makes it easier to do my work
- Enablement: without it I cannot really deliver correct results
- Execution: it is a direct part if it or could derive from my work as e.g. best practice
Information that supports or enables has a certain “distance” to the individual. The more it directly affects the personal environment (work critical) the more relevant (close) it is to the person – the more likely it is to be perceived and the more critical it is that the person is made aware of it. The next level (relevance to the larger work context – business critical) is slightly more distant from the person but still close enough to understand the effects. The outer part (not even touching “My Work” anymore) is the communication that is most likely to be ignored. The majority of people will not be able to make a connection to the content and the effect on the personal employment/work situation. Here’s the tangible example for each category:
Supporting ME: best practice for the work I am conducting.
Supporting US: a new range of product marketing that the sales team I work in uses.
Supporting the COMPANY: the CEO message on the quarterly results.
Enabling ME: a new purchasing guidelines for parts that are key to my deliveries
Enabling US: a new mandatory travel policy that affects expense processes for us as a sales team
Enabling the COMPANY: a new HR guideline on the personal use of the internet at work
Here’s the essence of the challenge: if the flood of information that touches all of the categories mentioned above is in no form or way targeted or indicated in relevance the recipients will simply turn numb. The will start to ignore all information and miss out on the essential and critical parts as well.
How to address the challenge?
Introduce targeting and indicate relevance.
It might be something that sounds like a tremendous effort. To create an editorial model that is able to specify and deliver information to pre-determined target groups. To provide intranets that are geared towards users and resonate on their role, geography, position and other relevant factors. To maybe even tailor the same message to different target group.
Rest assured. THAT is where the ROI on internal communications comes from. Not if you make it social, a stream or add pretty pictures to everything that is published – or (even worse) a strict “must read” rule that puts people even more work on their table through the required analysis & research efforts.
Introduce the indicators for a “call to action” (if there is one).
If you want people to react: tell them. Introduce the option to distinguish if a certain action is required (e.g. read, read & confirm, read & implement etc.). Make it easy for the user to classify information as urgent, critical or important. Allow them to invest only a little to follow what you want them to follow. For everyone’s sake…
Summary: On Sept 23 and 24 over 100 protagonists in the social business space had the opportunity to exchange their experience, opinion and expectations deriving from the endeavor towards a more social digital workplace. Similar to the IntraNET.Reloaded conference series in spring it’s literally possible to re-live the entire conference through Twitter at the #wcsocbiz hashtag. Nevertheless I will provide my digest of the conference. Essentially all organizations have left the experimental stage are now in the middle of connecting the ideology of “social” to the core business. Determining qualitative and/or quantitative business value (or even calculating a ROI) is not just part of the preaching anymore but brutal reality. Change management and the human factor has turned into an integrative element of all social strategies. Ask anyone and “simply rolling out a platform” simply isn’t enough anymore. At the same time platform providers are facing the challenge that “why you…what makes you so different?” is becoming a more and more frequent question. I could sense a certain fatigue towards always the same pitch around get connected, share stuff, follow topics”. I am actually very curious myself to see how the landscape of platform provides will be able to re-form the market in the coming years (or months?). Here we go…my digest (not cutting a long story short) and upfront apology that I will not elaborate on all presentations…
The power of VISUALIZING big data
I’ve just recently been confronted with the subject of establishing a data mining and reporting strategy in the finance industry. So it was extremely refreshing to see Nathan Bricklin (@socialbrick , Wells Fargo) talk about surfacing experts and expertise through the cloud of data that exists around them. In his point of view experts are
- Self reported
- Credible through seniority (if that’s applicable)
Imagining a 300+ thousand people company that is distributed around the globe one can imagine that the amount of data that is (or can be) collected and associated with specific people is vast. However, using the right approach it is possible to visualize connections between subject matters and people and thereby attach the right person to the right challenge. In Wells Fargo’s case even in the form of a career step and foundation of building new business. Being able to connect “the unusual” (in their case an intrinsic intrest in a certain subject) to their value proposition allowed the company to win business and to stand out in an RfP process (probably one of the best examples of a resonating value proposition I’ve ever seen).
Talking about influencers Nathan described them as connected with a well established reputation and open to content. In order to understand the impact there are certain indicators such as
- title (not just the position)
- number of followers (reach in the organisation)
- (publication) frequency
- content (type, format, comprehensiveness) and
Why social enterprise matters…?
Nathan just boiled it down to the essence:
It is probably the best foundation for a social enterprise mission statement I have ever seen (I am just making one up here!!):
We want to be different as an employer and business partner. We make it easy and tangible for people to participate and access experts and expertise independent from organizational, geographical or hierarchical location. We connect our intellectual assets and turn them into a continuous flow of value for our employees and clients – our foundation for retaining business and people.
His final recommendation was the one of a gateway drug. In Wells Fargo’s case it was the “digitalisation” of internal events and the connection of participants through internal social tools. The goal was simply to show the power of the mechanics in real life context.
Solving business challenges through a network
Linda Tinnert (@lindatinnert, IKEA) had her presentation built around one of IKEA’s core values:
Togetherness & enthusiasm
Besides the fact that their set of initiatives around social business have to meet clear business requirements such as
- Planning & Organization
- Manage Documentation
- Accessing Documentation
- Accessing Solutions
there is one key paradigm that she put on the screen and I just fell in love with it straight away:
Communication has to be trustworthy
This is probably THE game changer and shift within organisations. Because it makes game playing and corporate politics a lot harder (if not impossible).
Based on their solution IKEA has established three core areas in which the future of information and knowledge work is adding constant value to the company:
- My IKEA product idea (innovation, entrepreneurship, dialogue)
- Contact center Austria (updated, dialogue, speed & quality)
- Virtual matrix meeting (sharing learning, cost & time saving)
Competence driven business
Wolfgang Jastrowski (@jaschi42, Swiss Re) gave a brief insight on how social enterprise is supporting a business model that is built on “risk” and very factual thinking. My essential of his presentation actually went straight into a tweet:
Capabilities are the functional building block of an enterprise at Swiss RE. Everything has to fall in one place.
My take: no matter if you are in professional services, finance or manufacturing. As soon as expertise is a key factor in creating value connecting it and surfacing it at the right time to the right people is KEY to winning the every day race.
Video to empower people and save time…for recipients.
BP’s Joe Little (@JoeLittle) gave a presentation that made probably half the media houses out their either cry or applaud – depending on their maturity in reaching out to their users.
Essentially Joe made the point that…
…it’s worth a lot to put a little more effort in the “sending” part because it will make receiving so much easier.
Walking the crowd through the treasure of BP’s corporate media platforms he showed everything from brand communication and marketing archives through educational videos to webcasts and training. Video has become an essential pillar in BP’s communication and knowledge exchange strategy.
I am still impressed…
Play a game with me…and win a badge (but not for everything)
Bryan Barringer (@collab_me, FedEx Services) delivered his presentation on employee engagement and unlocking knowledge (yes, I had to have the word game here as well). So far the standard “mental model” (believe how things work from good and bad experience) is
“I have knowledge and must control that intelligence in order to be valuable”
In the (not so far) future that mental model has to change. If companies want to unleash their potential that lies buried in today’s information and knowledge work they have to build the foundation and trust into the new version:
“I am valuable because I am knowledgeable and I am willing to share that knowledge”
Along that process and in order to catalyze the right pieces companies have to pay proper attention on what level and to what extend the model has changed already…
Gamification (engagement > adaption > viral growth) and badges (virtual rewards for certain actions) are two models that FedEx is introducing to their organization in order to drive and and motivate the change towards that mental model. However, Bryan made the important point that immunification can be one evolutionary phase of introducing playful business applications if literally the whole day is turned into a game.
Furthermore he made a clear statement:
So if you’re struggling with social how will you deal with gamification?
People still come to work in order to work – not to play. There will be a difference depending on who you’re approaching (FedEx is currently dealing with 5 generations in the workplace) but it’s good to really seek to understand before seeking to…give playful work a try.
Badges (like you can find them e.g. on foursquare.com) are one variant of gamification. The concept can for example be used as part of an education & training program: tell others you’ve improved your expertise
Eventually here are four (pretty good) don’ts on the roadmap to gamification:
- Don’t lock down functionality (making them need a badge to access it…that will be the source for frustration)
- Don’t assume to know your user base (you’ll make an ASS out of U and ME)
- Don’t start with 300 badges and give badges for—breathing (literally…)
- Don’t start a program if you don’t keep it going (that should be pretty obvious…but it rarely is)
Asia ahead of the game
Unfortunately I was not able to attend the full presentation of Deepak Bhosale (@db1904) but parts of the initiatives that Asia Paint Ltd. from India has in place are simply overwhelming. Imagine you’d publish drafts of HR policies in your company to get refinement from the cloud BEFORE they are put into force... I have to admit that I haven’t met one other company that could even do that.
Connecting sales organizations and creating customer centric solutions are only two further use cases Asia Paint Ltd. has put into place.
Global Voice & Online DNA
AkzoNobel’s Bram Kokke (@bramkokke) made me cheer when he mentioned that his company is aware that they need an Online DNA. It is one of the rare occasions where a company has obviously realized that “digital” has to be built straight into the company’s business strategy. Bram’s presentation motivated me to tweet (in the sense of…)
You don’t need one global language – you need one global voice.
So the conference has finally given me the spot-on recommendation if I am involved in “what language shall we use” discussions. It’s so simple, clear and comprehensive and it would solve so many challenges that global organisations are facing.
The social enterprise rockstars: Novozymes
At the IntraNET.Reloaded in April 2013 Frank Hatzack ( @frankhatzack) already rocked the stage with his insights into Novozymes approach towards social collaboration, networking and innovation management. He stuck to his principle, brought a Digital Native (@tillegreen) to the stage as well and kept rocking the crowd. Their way of telling stories that even contained references to significance of collaboration in an statistical (for real) context was as refreshing as always. At Novozymes (like at Wells Fargo) connecting the social sphere and power to real events and jams was one of the driving factors.
And even at Novozymes they said at some point “let’s get real” and started digging into the business value and potential of the newly surfaced ideas.
So what have I learned? Maybe I can put it into one statement:
Social Business has started its evolution from playful into powerful and essential. First steps are taken. First results are visible and measurable. Social is there to stay and change the way we work, achieve and balance. I can’t wait…
Please stay tuned…in my next blog post I will provide the summary on my World Café session on “Mobility in the context of social business collaboration“…
Summary: On April 23/24 2013 Berlin was the place to be for European intranet and enterprise 2.0 professional. From 8am in the morning until 6pm at night participants had the chance to exchange experience. Speakers from various industries shared their best practice and the DOs and DONTs when it comes to evolving the intranet into a digital workplace. In this article I am sharing my key take aways and sincerely hope to meet some of my readers next year. A word of warning: I’ve not cut a long story short – intentionally. Some parts of my recap might seem “common sense” but the level of awareness for the key success factors has experienced a substantial shift. Value creation has moved into the focus of almost all hands-on drivers in the field.
Social Minutes of the conference…
…can be found on Twitter under the #intrel13 hashtag. It’s definitely worth browsing through the almost 1.000 tweets that we’ve produced in the two days.
My personal key take away from INTRANET.Reloaded, Berlin (2013)
- When Communications & IT join big things can happen
- People centricity is not just reflected through “social software” anymore (Or: The social radio and the hidden dream team)
- Cultural change – it’s less of hen and egg than before
- Key asset of the new workplace: relevant content
- The requirements document is not a wish list
1. When Communications & IT join forces big things can happen
The status-quo still seems to be more of a two class society. In some organisations the business and technology folks haves moved closer together. In others there’s still a lot of platform, bells & whistles and “just get it out of the door” thinking. That leaves business professionals frustrated and demotivated when they are either bullied or slowed down by there sous-terrain peers (maybe it’s some kind of reaction on the lack of daylight…). Whenever business and IT decided to work hand in hand on the endeavour towards real business IT results where exciting. In particular the presentation of StoraEnso on the current status of their journey towards a digital workplace was impressive. What I particularly loved (yes…emotion!) was their mantra to
“…make sure that employees simply have clarity on where to go for what piece of information.”
This is one of the “common sense” things. However, to take this as a motivation to merge collaboration and communication initiatives and replace the “old” world with a completely new digital service concept for employees is heart warming. It’s consequent. It’s smart. Here’s what StoraEnso shared as their general advice to the participants of the conference.@charlottesp)
The same applies to the Sonae’s presentation (Portugal; check the #sonae hashtag combined w/ #intrel13). I strongly recommend to “steel with pride” from their quadrant on driving the digital workplace initiative (http://t.co/mtZq2dpyzf).@jp3dro)
2. People centricity is not just reflected through “social software” anymore
Or: The social radio and the hidden dream team
Almost all speakers emphasised the importance of “seeking to understand before seeking to be understood”. Running conceptual pre-studies and making sure that the results of the project will meet actual business needs has been an essential part of the impressive and promising case presentations. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of how need/requirements are evaluated. Talk to anyone who has applied the Xmas approach of how useful wishful thinking of frustrated users eventually is. More to this a little bit later in this article.
In particular Novozymes (Danmark, @frankhatzack) made two very strong points. Their analogy of the new abilities to drive communication and collaboration through social media inspired services with a social radio is just beautiful!
“Following the flow of activities in a company is like listening to a social radio. You have to make sure that you’ve tuned into the right channels and silence the noise.”
This goes hand in hand with the so often used quote of “There is no information overload, just a filter failure” by Clay Shirkey. Using the social radio requires the users to be aware of the general principles and the way one can use the dials to fine tune personal relevance.
Secondly “the hidden dream” concept is something that should be on the agenda of all drivers of innovation/best practice/idea management initiatives. Novozymes figured out that the most powerful ideas came from the “long tail” of users submitting ideas. It’s not the ones with the loudest voice, it’s the ones that rather post less quantity but strive for higher results – and bear in mind that innovation usually involves more than one point of view. To unveil the hidden dream teams is an amazing opportunity that lies within a company’s organisation. New ways of surfacing experts, expertise and experience that derive from socialised business IT definitely helps with this task.
3. Cultural change – it’s less of hen and egg than before
For years change management has been trending in the context of enterprise 2.0 and the future of information work. @frankhatzack from Novozymes made clear: digital doesn’t go well with pure hierarchy. There a general agreement that top management (aka the C-suite) is happy to request and lead change. The employee base is happy to tap into the new opportunities – adoption rate and speed depending on the demographical structure. Middle management however has a proper challenge with their change of role. The more connected the nodes of an organisation are and the more automated informations logistics become the less “controllable” it will be. #FOLC was established as an acronym at the conference this year: Fear Of Loosing Control. All endeavours have to address that fear as much as they have to pick up on potential #FOMO amongst employees: Fear Of Missing Out. Adding new channels and new opportunities requires to make sure that each single employee is able to work in full certainty and clarity that the relevant stuff will find her/him. For StoraEnso that was a key driver to treat intranet and digital workspace as ONE.
What has settled in is the fact that change in work culture and the digital workplace have to come hand in hand. It’s a give and take. Making cultural change the foundation for changes in the digital workplace is like swallowing the elephant in one go. Slicing it up in reasonable steps, prioritising based on value contribution and managing expectations towards the scope of the single steps is the way to go.
4. Key asset of the new workplace: relevant content
Ensuring relevance for the actual user is key in the majority of initiatives. The way to tackle relevance today ranges from very basic pro-active selection of “what I want to see” to the automated delivery of the right piece of information to the user’s door step at the right time.
One key take away of the conference is definitely the issue of managing/creating information assets in a multi-channel world. Skanska (Sweden) for example manages its content for all digital services through one backend. Treating external and internal presence as just a different channel is definitely a smart way to make sure that content is used most effectively.
Pfizer (USA) decided to “harness the ego factor” (@NoraGhitescu) and give people that produce content for their digital channels. They turned their communicators into correspondents and gave them the chance to stand out with by-line and picture. As a result Pfizer was able to create content that attracted so many people that media agencies would be probably more than happy to sell advertising on that inventory.https://twitter.com/for_desire_it/status/327449438270414848/photo/1
5. The requirements document is not a wish list
Making sure that the new endeavour will deliver value to individuals as well as the organisation is key. Evaluating requirements and managing expectations in that context is definitely key. At this point I’d like to refer to one of my older posts on motivation. Requirements don’t have to be things people want (or wish). It can as well be something that should be resolved, removed or improved. That angle – it terms of motivation & measurability – is much stronger than just striving towards a vision.
What I definitely have to share is Sonae’s (Portugal) slide on requirements engineering. It actually doesn’t need much explanation…@jp3dro) | Source: @DigitalJonathan
World Café on “Managing expectations along the workplace evolution”
I had the opportunity to host a world café session on “managing expectations”. As a framing for all participants (5 rounds in total) I used the following approach:
Seek to understand before seeking to be understood
(Stephen R. Covey)
Use this paradigm as the motivation to understand where you are today in order to understand how to phase out the roadmap to the vision of the future workspace (the reloaded intranet).
Find your current position on either or or both following models for distinguishing the status/evolutionary phase of a workspace:
#1 Workspace Maturity Model
#2 People Relationship Model (w/t the thought leadership stage)
After the framing followed the discussion based on how the participants of the world café table positioned themselves in the model and shared their insights on how expectations were managed on the way to the current status and with regards to the future steps.
Key take away of the discussion around “how to manage expectations along the evolution of a digital workplace”
- It’s about people. Evangelist or Ambassador programs are essential but both have to be connected to the real steps that are taken. Just preaching the vision won’t be enough to make people really adapt. Sometimes some “nudging” towards the new opportunities might be required.
- Management has to be committed to the change and support it by being a prime example.
- To get commitment it’s necessary to have role based value proportion for “what’s in for me” for e.g. roles like CEO, CIO, HR, program managers, production managers, etc…
- Top Management might require a value proposition that resonates with their abstraction of the business in Excel and ERP. Middle Management needs a value proposition that avoids #FOLC. The employee base has to be ensured that #FOMO is unnecessary and that access to the relevant content will actually improve.
- Taking into account blue collar work is essential for companies that produce more than just paper. However, it should not stop initiatives because (broadly) involving blue collar roles will be a challenge for almost all companies.
- Do NOT ask people what the want. Ask them “What’s preventing you from being excellent?”.
- Argue the endeavour and its scope based on challenges that will be solved and QuickWins that derive from new opportunities. Do NOT argue along bells & whistles of digital services.
- Easy things first: create tangible results quickly!
INTRANET.Reloaded: Inspired not just by the content
At this stage I want to share a way the organisers of the conference decided to create “minutes” of the conference. It was a live sketching done by an incredible illustration artist. I can strongly recommend this to anyone who’s intending to produce a documentation alongside a larger event…
The rights to all content shown in pictures of slides of the conferences lie with the original/presenting author(s) and the represented company.
Quo vadis Wissensarbeit?
von Philipp Rosenthal
Web 2.0, Cloud Computing, Software as a Service – die Liste von Begriffen, die die Arbeitswelt revolutionieren, ließe sich noch lange fortsetzen. Einige gehören bereits zum Büro-Alltag, andere verschwinden wieder. Das derzeit viel diskutierte Thema „Enterprise 2.0“ oder „Social Business“ steht am Scheideweg. Doch das Arbeiten nach dem Vorbild der sozialen Medien – Teilen, Beteiligen, Mitmachen – ist auf Erfolgskurs.
PDF zum Artikel gibt’s hier…
Summary: There has been a lot of discussion and controversy around Yahoo! raising the working-from-home subject in their struggle for a new “one Yahoo!” culture. Surprisingly enough even close allies of mine in the field of social business started re-considering if WFH actually is beneficial for corporate culture and creativity. After digesting my thoughts and perspective on the subject for a while I’ve decided to join the ring. I want to approach the subject from four angels: enablement, leadership, flexibility and globalisation. I believe that the larger picture of “working from home” is important to really judge if a company wants to allow or deny their workforce to adopt styles of “remote work”.
Not everyone is made for working from home. Not every role can be performed out of a home office. That’s how it is. Manufacturing industrial products will never happen in the living room. Expert hands-on mechanical support can hardly be provided through a video chat. If you want to look at it in a very strict way WFH creates a two class society to some extend. Not even all information worker roles can adopt WFH or full flexibility for time & place. However, there is a certain segment in information work that can and should have the opportunity to take advantage from the new opportunities business ICT provides. Simply because it’s beneficial for results, quality and eventually the entire organisation.
If we deny the difference in work types and respective ways of executing it we are denying diversity and should (today!) cancel all the perks of busy top managers as well. Simply get back in line and fly Southwest in economy class…because: you can!
Four Angles on “Working from Home”
1. What WFH models actually enable on a larger scale…
If you ask me, working from home isn’t just about moms or getting people on board for which commuting/re-locating isn’t a valid option. It’s about establishing a way of working that enables people to work whenever and from wherever. This way of working covers all factors:
- technology infrastructure
- people leadership
- performance management
- collaboration culture
- work discipline
It means that establishing a proper model for remote work actually impacts all neuralgic points of an organisation. Mastering remote work means that your foundation for individual and collaborative productivity as well as objective based people management is properly in place. My hypothesis is that a company, which is able to execute the portion of information work of its core business in any constellation – on site or completely distributed – must be a high performing one.
2. Leadership for a distributed workforce
Change in management and work culture are key subjects in all discussions around the future of information work. My two cents: WFH can only work if
- People are led by example and objectives
- It’s crystal clear that everything I decide as a remote worker has immediate impact on others. Absence may not be the cause for disruption. If one’s absence is actually in the way of others – preventing their performance and success – then something is wrong in the system. Creating a sense for that is a management job.
One ‘radical’ view: people that take personal advantage of “not being under direct supervision” have to get fired. Breaking trust and letting others down is the worst information workers can do. So far I haven’t come across many companies that consequently remove laggards from their workforce that not just under perform but actually block others. That is part of management/leadership duty.
3. Flexibility for individuals, teams and networking
Establishing a cultural and technological WFH infrastructure basically means that people are enabled to create value at any time from anywhere. So…even if “working from home” isn’t really the goal people can still choose the environment in which they (individually or collaboratively) can create the most value.
I’ve just recently been forwarded an article in which it was discussed that agencies – or creative teams in general – cannot work from home. People have to work and interact in real time and in person. For that companies introduce perks like free lunch and dinner and whatever else services you can think of. This is meant to keep people from going home and stay with the tribe.
For my taste this is going agains work/life balance. Don’t get me wrong: I am a very big fan of American companies and the way they are able to establish a kind of “brotherhood” (or in a more negative fashion “sect”) feeling. Too many European companies are lacking that kind of drive.
Anyway: I don’t think it’s necessary to lock creative tribe in one room at all times. It’s necessary to establish a certain level of team spirit, a common foundation and dedication(!). If that’s solved creative people need their freedom to BE creative. I cannot remember one excellent idea actually being created in a meeting room. The best stuff was brought back to work from home, the gym or bed. In today’s world people have different and so much better means to collaborate and be creative when they are not sharing a physical room. I believe that the right balance of sharing physical and virtual space is the key to outstanding and extremely quick results.
4. Working in a global economy
Let me keep this one short and crisp: companies and their teams are becoming more and more distributed across the globe. Networks slowly but steadily start taking over from large “all on one” tankers. Talents are required and willing to overcome geographical and cultural distance to learn, contribute and grow.
And we want to lock them in an office?
Oh, come on…
I want to promote a guest article created by my colleague Sean McGuire… I haven’t edited the post and am looking forward to my follower’s reaction to his point of view 🙂