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Posts Tagged ‘Social media breakfast

Power Distance Vs. Skunkworks (Shop Talk #8)

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Don’t Fax Me In

I’m anticipating a Social Media Breakfast Friday morning that promises dialogue about dialogue: how companies can get better at engaging employees for collaboration. Collaboration intrigues me because it forces this question:

How is it our organizations gather all these smart people and yet routinely fail to get them working together on big ideas? Why is true collaboration still a distant dream rather than today’s pressing reality?

Anyone can see we’re well beyond the “You talk. I Listen.” model of management relations. In my class we’ve been tracing the opportunity of social technologies backwards to where conversation bumps against command and control personalities and cultures. I’ve been coming to the conclusion that conversation is inevitable: with customers, with your own workforce. Especially with your own workforce. This is good news for anyone who works. To expect anything less than people talking back (where you can hear it or where you cannot hear it) is to settle comfortably into the pace and ethos of 1980 or 1990. Back when we might just fax in our order.

One celebrated model for collaboration is that of Lockheed Martin’s Skunkworks: smart people hiding from bosses (or some bosses) to work together on a particular passion. It was a skunkworks setup that allowed Steve Jobs to make his radical break that resulted in the Macintosh. The absence of bureaucracy and the concentrated abundance of resources contributed to innovation.

And this: slightly naughty has its own peculiar draw. If skunkworks promises to disrupt the social order, I’m in. So are a lot of other seemingly ordinary citizens.

Cubicle-dwelling life is often more about receiving messages rather than dialoguing. In my own life it was the rare boss (I count three) who was able to deeply engage teams and bring out the very best—the brand new stuff that would happen only when everyone talked.

My fear is that internal communication is mostly just another flavor-of-the-month HR stunt, only using new tools. Just another command and control technique that only climbers are interested in.

My hope is that leaders take their top positions and use them to demonstrate dialogue and make themselves vulnerable.

My observation is that a generation of Anti-Vladimir Putins and Anti-Kim Jong-uns is already emerging.



Let’s Infect Ourselves: The Logical Conclusions of Social Media

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Just Walk the Opportunity Backwards and You’ll See

It’s easy to love the tools of social media and become all enamored by what they do and the sorts of connections they make. Brand new connections you would never have made before. But connecting takes a lot of energy and frankly, lots of vigilance. One must keep atop one’s game. And if you stop (connecting), well, you lose it all.

In this ever-connecting world there is a growing sense that the old marketing monologue, the one we used to interrupt and hypnotize potential customers, is being boxed and shelved. Over at Clarity Coverdale Fury they talk a lot about the characteristics of the Conscious Consumer, how purchasing choices are coming from a more thoughtful place. And students in my Social Media Marketing class confirm that the threshold for seeking information on even common purchases is getting lower and lower. Why not get a review on a cup of coffee before you buy? It’s too easy.

Some smart folks will gather to discuss what employee collaboration looks like in companies today. Deep collaboration seems a logical conclusion of connecting, especially as we pivot away from command and control styles of leadership. I’m curious to hear how the innate rewards of being a boss and being in charge fit with the goal of bringing out the collaborative best in people. So I signed up to attend the breakfast. My experience is that those intent on ascending the corporate ladder have neither the same desires nor the skill sets as those who enable collaboration. Of course, they are not always mutually exclusive

But this is where we are going: Deeper employee collaboration. Deeper collaboration between customers and companies, where customers have a voice not just for getting support but now for product development.

This is the logical conclusion of connecting.

It is written.



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