What am I going to tell my boss (Draft – still want comments)

The internet just turned 40 last month, and no one would argue that the result of enabling 1/6th of the people on the planet to communicate and share information using this network has lead to enumerable unforeseen and unplanned benefits.

Web2.0, and its derivatives- Enterprise 2.0, Social media, Government 2.0, are now collectively a combination of ideology, and technologies that together are a disruptive technology with the potential to bring great power to those that leverage it.

We are not fostering the ideology or leveraging the technologies to an appreciable extent, and risk loosing much in the way of power and influence.

The problem is that we have had access to these Web2.0 tools for over 5 years now, with little progress in the way of integrating these tools into our business practices or replacing older tools and technologies. Leadership puts these concepts into vision statements, but does little in the way of delivering actionable plans and integration strategies. Meanwhile the grassroots efforts of many line employees that leverage the technologies have marginalized success, and meet with resistance from supervisors and middle management that have no direction from above on how and what to implement or allow.

This is further muddied with the heavily publicized failings and issues of the use of these technologies on the world wide web (www). You hear about negative issues spanning opsec of personal information and computer cyber security issues and concerns that do in fact exist- on that network. What they don’t talk about, and how the issues you hear about with these tools on TV and in various other media is the difference in attribution. Simply put, on the web, you can be anyone, and say just about anything. Whereas within enterprise
environments, many of these concerns don’t exist because your actions are attributable to you, and your cyber issues are largely behind the firewall. So it is clearly an unfair comparison, and damaging to adoption.

Discussion-
1. Ideology, values, and culture of the “adopters” -It’s about attitude, not Gen-X, Gen-Y etc…
2. Tools and Technologies that facilitate integration of the ideology in business and personal performance
3. Benefits of Integrated Social Media Strategy
4. Not a Utopian solution
5. Current and future tools and technologies
6. What is needed from leadership

The Ideology – (Heavy influence by Gary Hamel)

– Contributing and Sharing – The speed, agility, access to information and communication of the network surpasses individual performance
– Transparency – We each can see what and when others contribute
– Trust – Through transparency we can develop trust and meaningful relationships
– Impact – Desire ability to impact my organization
– Agility – Facilitate a fast pace, minimize bureaucracy
– Easy – Low barriers to contribution
– Egalitarian – Your ideas sink or swim on their own merit and are not based on personal credentials
– Networks are self organized and defined – not prescribed
– Leaders serve rather then preside
– Resources get attracted not allocated
– Power comes from sharing accurate information not hoarding it
– Opinions compound and decisions are peer reviewed

The tools and technology –

There was a time when the tools we had at work were far superior to what we had access to at home, and in some areas, that pendulum has come 180. These tools are readily available at home, and are a large part of many people’s personal productivity. These tools enable and enhance the activities that are valued in Social Media ideology.

Tools and Technology
– Blog (WordPress)
– Wiki (Wikipedia)
– Instant Messaging (Chat)
– Web based file servers for various media (Flickr, Picasa, Google Docs)
– Social Bookmarking
– Keywords and Tags
– RSS
– Social Media platforms (Facebook, MySpace)
– Emergent Social Software Platforms (ESSPs)
– Podcasts
– … Many more

Not really going to talk tools, there are too many, and I am grateful to have access to so many for my work. There are classes you can take to learn about the tools and how to use them to achieve results. What is important to mention is that I have a choice, not one solution that was handed down from corporate IT with a mandate to use it.

These tools have some characteristics in common. I like the mnemonic SLATES coined by Andrew McAfee to discuss those similarities.

– Search – Ability to search within the tool
– Links – Ability to link to other information
– Authoring – Give people the ability to interact with or author
– Tags – Keywords associated with an item
– Extensible – Can be improved and made to work with other tools
– Signals – Can send you an option in notification (email, or RSS)

Benefits of Integrated Social Media Strategy –

Not a Utopian solution –

Current and future tools and technologies –

What is needed from leadership? –

Stated social media goals and guide rails that provide and encourage adoption within the firewall while considering security and expectations when using tools that interact with the world wide web.

Verbalized recognition and encouragement of the use of these tools by managers and employees whenever possible within the firewall for enterprise related work.

Encourage leadership to create a culture in which calculated risks can be taken without fear of loosing job, innovation can take place at the lowest levels of the organization, employees can and do impact how things are done. Understand that flaws will come to the surface, and be ready to engage the workforce on how to fix them in an open and transparent way. I am reminded of forums, and the solution cannot be to simply turn them off. They may have shed light on some of the shortcomings, but ultimately, they represented the silent voice at the table.

Recognize the values of the coming workforce. Understand the tension that may exist with current leadership that came into power under a somewhat different set of values and a different culture to form the existing business model. State a desired direction to evolve from that model toward a new model in which risk, trust, sharing, and collaboration resulting in products with great depth of knowledge and transparency of contributions are to be rewarded.

Empower and encourage network and team building across the entire enterprise utilizing these tools and leveraging those networks and teams against mission areas. Actionable plans put into place and motivated engagement.

Search out and hire people that demonstrate high performance and the skills to integrate their talent with a network of similarly interested and talented people.

Recognize and reward adoption and evolution toward the new model.

Ensure that middle management and immediate supervisors encourage the use of and adoption of these tools by the workforce.

I believe that general
managers are the single most important constituency for tech-
nology success or failure within an organization; yet very few
books or other materials are written especially for them.

[Andrew McAfee]

—-
Thanks to Contributors:
-Dave McDonald
-Joseph Boutte
-Justin Franks
-Andrew McAfee
-Nick Charney
-Brock Webb
-Chris Rasmussen

—-
Resources and links
http://andrewmcafee.org/enterprise-20-book-and-blurbs/
http://oreilly.com/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WEB2.0
http://blogs.wsj.com/management/2009/03/24/the-facebook-generation-vs-the-fortune-500/

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3 Responses to “What am I going to tell my boss (Draft – still want comments)”

  1. Forrest Sweasy Says:

    Lance,
    A nice article and well thought out. I personally liked the links at the bottom, I hadn’t seen the WSJ one before.

    Here is why this “stuff” is so good. I don’t really put much effort into “working” social media at home. I use it for family and fun – it was immediately apparent to me while reconnecting with old friends how useful this would be in a business setting. Example from right now.

    Just below my UK Wildcats feed and Coach Calipari Twitter feed, is a RSS feed from “Lance’s GBP”. I read your blog post, checked out the links at the bottom, which I just thanked you for previously, noted your collaborators (you can never go wrong with Aloha Dave) and have written a reply all in about 8 minutes (thus far). Could I have done this with e-mail. Probably not, because I wouldn’t have been on your distro list unless I knew about this or was already in-the-loop in some other way.

    Like everything, these tools have their place, they also have their limitations, you won’t want to have a “private” conversation on them. Not the right tool for the job.

    For a quick push to the boss. Explain how it can help improve current products/processes. Push the benefits, but don’t ignore the warts. As for the final timeliness report from tonight, I read a couple of professional products from your links, a nice blog post and something to wrap my brain around this evening, all in about 11 minutes. Not too shabby good friend. Good luck with the presentation. I’m heading back to reading about college basketball.

  2. Hey Lance – very well thought out. I hope you book enough time w/your boss to get through the entire conversation.

    FYI – I am about to tweet a link to it and am saving it to come back and “borrow” all your goodies. =)

    Cheers.

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nicholas Charney, Jesse Good . Jesse Good said: RT @nickcharney: Reading What am I going to tell my boss (about Social Media) http://bit.ly/zdC3H […]

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