In an earlier post Beware: The Seduction of Social, I commented that the “provide and pray” approach for social technology doesn’t work. While working on the Business Gets Social scenario for fall symposium, I explored two critical uncertainties: how organizations will allocate resources and how work will be executed. During this exploration, it became evident that I was correct in my assessment – most of the time. Provide and pray can work, but for most organizations it’s a long shot.
There are some situations in which offering social tools to workers will result in their spontaneous adoption. It’s rare – less than 15% of the implementations we’ve studied – but it can happen.
So the critical question becomes, under what circumstances does this unaided uptake occur? The short answer is: when it worked the last time. The organizations that have a track record of successfully letting “1000 flowers grow”with other technologies will likely see a similar response with social.
To add some meat to that bony answer, the implementations were we’ve seen workers more or less spontaneously adopt social tools are characterized by:
- A high percentage of pioneers who are naturally curious about how new technologies can help them work better (however they specifically define better)
- A self-directed workforce that is empowered to set goals and act on them
- A network-centric leadership style where employees are involved in decision making
- A management team that not just endorses the concept of collaboration but demonstrates their belief in it with their actions.
So back to scenario planning. One possible eventuality I explored in the scenario is a world in which resources are allocated to work based community interests and workers decide to participate in projects when they capture their imagination. Leaders who believe this world is a viable outcome should compare their organization to the four criteria mentioned above. Where they are lacking, they need to take action to close the gap. In most cases this will require a significant re-education of the management team and a rethinking of critical work activities.
I hope you will be able to join me at Symposium/ITxpo 2011 in Orlando to hear the rest of the scenario.
Category: Change management Collaboration community Knowledge management Social media Social networks social software Uncategorized Tags: Change management, Collaboration, Collaboration dynamics, Collective, communities of practice, community, Community of practice, Knowledge management, Social media, Social networking, Social networks, symposium