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Why Do We Have Workplace Culture Clashes? #TChat Recap

It’s the way we organize the universe.

We categorize and label everything; there’s just too much stuff out there and in our heads to manage otherwise.  We’d be blathering fools if we didn’t.

Sure, Mr. Steve Levy and I would agree that there are still too many blathering idiots in the world today, regardless of how organized they are, and they span generations.

Don’t look at us that way.

Generations — those categorizations we give to groups born over specific timeframes, like the Traditionalists (the silent generation), Baby Boomers, Gen X (the me generation, which is mine), Gen Y, Gen Z…

The over-arching question last night on #TChat was:  Do generations matter at work? The easy answer for most of those who participated was no, even though for many of us we know the answer is still unfortunately yes.

Kind of.

We expect the Traditionalists to be non-technical and Gen Y and Z to be, well, androids.  But that’s not the case — my 78-year-old dad is pretty darn good with computers, while I’ve met some young folk who couldn’t find their bottom from a hole in the ground (that’s my dad talking, not me).  No Justin Bieber fever here, and never in 3-D.

We expect our elders to be the more seasoned and smarter leaders and mentors in the workplace today, but there have been plenty of less experienced and younger, more emotionally intelligent leaders and mentors who’s impulse control trumps that of fallible old folks.

Don’t look at me that way.

Which is why mentoring shouldn’t be based on the supposed pro-rookie partnership; it should encompass bi-directional ages and experiences of all kinds.

Of course I’m speaking in generalities, but that’s the way I keep the universe organized.  The reality is we try to wrap macros around that which is unique to an individual, and when you try to wrap your head around that, you can get blathering-idiot syndrome.

But that’s now we’re supposed to recruiting and hire and develop — based on what is unique to the individual that helps to fill a specific role in a company.  I really liked the way Jillian Walker summed it up last night:

Recruit > hire on ability; Engage > determine wants; Manage > be flexible; Lead > push their limits, encourage best of the best.

Hey, the opacity in the world and the workplace is getting thinner, allowing for more of the now clichéd “transparency” to light our way.

The new transparency allows the light to shine where it never shone before.  Now, that’s not always a good thing, but more often than not, it keeps most of us honest when it comes to revealing our experience and knowledge and where the “skills” gaps are (LinkedIn profiles, blogs).  Although this is a stereotypical trend since most younger generations brought up online and in social media embrace transparency easier than older generations.  And there are still lots of folks who don’t play online, across generations.  Just check out the stats and demographics at Pew Internet.

Because we label is why we have workplace culture clashes, which is why I prefer Gen Zen, especially in our highly integrated work/life globally dispersed worlds.

I agree with Matt Charney and how he put it all together in his preview:  It  turns out that generations in the workplace share more in common than a workplace.

Indeed it does.

Mercy, it was a record turnout last night on #TChat — over 300 fine folk participated during the hour.  Thank you everyone!  Check out last night’s transcript and here were the questions we asked:

  • Q1)  What myths exist about workplace generational dynamics? Generational realities?
  • Q2)  Are there emerging personality traits, skill sets for hiring GenY, GenX, Baby Boomers, etc.?
  • Q3)  Who is currently the most “invisible” generation in the workplace and why? Most “visible”?
  • Q4) How do savvy workplace cultures recruit, engage, manage and lead all generations?
  • Q5) How does new media and global connectivity help/hinder generational gaps in the workplace?
  • Q6) How can inter-generational workforces spark innovation and evolve culture?
  • Q7) How does the term “reverse mentoring” help bridge generational divides in the workplace?

Thanks again everyone for joining us last night!  We’re taking next week off (March 8), so we’ll see you the week after on March 15.

Join the conversation live every Tuesday night as co-hosts with Kevin Grossman and Meghan M. Biro from 8-9 PM E.T. via @monster_works and @MonsterWW.  Hope to see you next time on March 15 at 8 PM ET for #TChat!

Managing Virtual Teams: #TChat Recap

You’d think that those of us who collaborate online have already mastered the virtual workplace. And for the most part, we have.  We communicate via a variety of tools and services:

  • E-mail
  • Phone
  • Instant Message
  • Video Chat
  • The Big Social 3 (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
  • Other Online Networks
  • Webinar
  • Podcast
  • Blog
  • Wiki
  • Intranet

All being done via:

  • Landlines
  • Cell phones
  • Smart phones
  • The Internet
  • Tablet computers
  • Laptop computers
  • Desktop computers
  • Carrier pigeons
  • Two cups connected with string
  • Telepathic messages

Maybe not the last three, but if you do use any of those, do please let me know.

Beyond the tools and services, the true measure of working virtually is the fact you are autonomous, accountable, personally responsible, self-managed and productive — but not in the “time put in” sense, more the productivity in aligned business output over the course of the day and week.

Those of us who have worked virtually for years within organizations and/or with clients not in the backyard don’t think twice about what it means to work alone in a home office.

Maybe, although I think we need more live interaction throughout the year.  So whether than means formal company gatherings a few times a year, meeting at events a few times a year, leasing space in a coworking facility like I do, we all still need a little face time.

And that’s what helps to keep your company culture solidified — the face time — look me in the eyes, baby.

Last night during #TChat, where the topic was — Managing virtual teams and dispersed global organizations while maintaining workplace culture.  Is it possible? — Amy Ruberg mentioned: Trust is earned, fragile, and travels in both directions.

That really sums up the daily workplace transactions, together in a shared office or at home in a virtual one, and for me solidifies culture as well.

Unfortunately many companies don’t trust well and still have archaic policies that don’t jive with the realities of the mobile/virtual workforce.

Can you imagine conducting a virtual meeting across a variety of devices while still having a no-electronic-device policy during meetings?

Wouldn’t that make everyone vanish in thin air?

Another defining point from last night — if you can’t manage virtual teams should you be in a managerial position at all?

Probably not.

The good news is that according to a recent post by Sharlyn Lauby titled What the Best Places to Work Have in Common:

82 of Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work listed the fact that they offered telecommuting.  So, the key concept behind workshifting – being able to work productively from anywhere – are embraced by the companies considered to be the crème de la crème in Corporate America. This comes right after the Federal Government implemented the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010, mandating Federal Agencies to implement telework policies.

Here is the transcript from last night’s #TChat and these were our questions:

  • Q1: How are virtual teams presenting challenges for leaders in a workplace culture?
  • Q2: Reality Check: Can leaders engage and handle workplace conflicts virtually?
  • Q3: What are ways we can improve communication for teams that are primarily virtual?
  • Q4: In person meetings will always be necessary for employee engagement – how much is enough for true team collaboration?
  • Q5: Is recruiting, hiring for “self-management” “innovation” skills a must for telecommuting roles? Globally?
  • Q6: What does employer trust have to do with virtual – both from the inside and outside of an employer’s brand?
  • Q7: Why are some innovative companies considering VTs to be their most important asset?

A special thank you to Meghan M. BiroMatt Charney and Eric Winegardner from Monster land, Ian Mondrow the team at Sodexoand all the other fantastic usual suspects and new folks who stopped by last night to share their wisdom.

Next week’s topic:  Workplace Culture Clash or Party? Multi-generational diversity and the innovation factor.

Join us every Tuesday night from 8-9 p.m. ET (5-6 p.m. PT) on Twitter via hashtag #TChat. Remember we welcome global input! Join in from wherever you might be. Our live chat is hosted by @KevinWGrossman @MeghanMBiro@TalentCulture, and @Monster_WORKS. Please Tweet or DM us for more scoop!

Live from #TRULondon – Recruiting: Power of Global People Connectivity

I’m at the TruLondon unconference this week, meeting with people from all over the world – from companies and people discussing the social aspects of leadership, recruiting and HR, we’re learning and sharing stories about using the power of social media to make connections with job seekers and recruiting companies.

London is a creative and vibrant city and the TruLondon unconference, hosted by my friend Bill Boorman and their sponsor JobSite is an amazing venue – no powerpoints, lots of Tweeting and more like a long coffee/wine break with friends than a sit-down-take-notes conference. My kind of conference for certain. It is here where innovation has room to breathe and develop into new ideas.

As I listen to Bill and the other conference friends and attendees one fact remains: We’ve been on a career/workplace/media innovation roller coaster these past several months. Job satisfaction started 2010 at 45 percent negative and plunged to 80+ percent negative by December.

The job market tried to pull out of its dive but failed, despite the government’s recent attempts to redefine the meaning of ‘long-term unemployed’. Companies that weren’t hanging by a thread were socking away cash, holding off on hiring and waiting for signals that the nation was on more certain economic footing. All of us here are ready to say ‘done with that’ and are hoping – and talking about -how to make these times truly count for our recruiting clients and social communities.

What has changed that we can take into the next few months with lighter hearts? I looked back at our recent TalentCulture TChat– my new tea-leaves – for cues, and have distilled my thoughts from TRULondon so far as well. Here’s what stood out to me:

  • The influence of social media on the workplace, hiring trends and corporate brands is huge and will continue to grow. Smart employer brands realized they needed to use social media as both a recruitment and retention tool, as well as a way to take the temperature of the workplace and the larger market. Cheers to social media.
  • Innovation is en vogue again. You know I love hearing affirmation of this. It’s early days yet but I predict that workplaces that invested in developing an authentic culture brand and employee experience will start to see the payoff in innovation.
  • Risk is still significant that ‘stuck’ workplaces will lose their star team players, and maybe even the B team as well. By ‘stuck’ I mean the companies lead by the out-of-touch – the people who are afraid to clue into their emotional intelligence, afraid to change and ease up a bit on employees. The change here is that emotional intelligence is on the rise, and companies that invest in building it into the workplace will come out of the gate in better shape than competitors.
  • More companies will go virtual (and we will be recruiting for these skills) as a way to lighten the load on stressed employees, worn down from years of no raises or pay cuts or layoffs. Managing these highly-mobile, virtual workplaces takes a sure hand and a light touch. Finding ways to be successful with mobile, virtual workforces will be a key leadership/recruiting/HR skill. Note: Our next #TChat topic is Managing virtual teams and dispersed global organizations while maintaining workplace culture.  Is it possible?
  • It’s a new world of recruiting indeed, thanks to Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook et al. Today’s recruiters work mainly in 140-character bursts, and resumes are distilled into keywords and links. I’m spending time reviewing innovation in this space and it’s really very cool and exciting. It’s safe to say that LinkedIn remains the most widely utilized sourcing tool for recruiters to date from this list.
  • The notion of leadership is re-emerging. Too many erstwhile leaders have been hunkered down behind closed doors. It’s time to re-invest in building a culture of leadership, one that is inclusive and broad.
  • Culture is the new workplace must-have. Go figure. Cultures of Talent loom large. Authenticity, brand, stickiness, innovation and inspiration must come through in your workplace culture. Connect and humanize your employees with your brand and watch culture bloom.

What say you? Are you expecting more of the same or actively engaged with companies and job seekers bubbling with innovation, workplace culture and passion for doing a great job now? Love to hear your thoughts.

Social Media Meets Lightning Workplace Learning: #TChat Recap

Two camps.

One that digs social media as THE engine driving recruiting, learning and organizational development.

And the other that does not.

That was pretty clear during last night’s #TChat about social media in the workplace.  Some of you may have tired of the social conversation, but many of us have not.

Remember the resistance to e-mail and the Internet?  Good Gosh — what business value do those time-wasters and secret sharers have?

So much fantastic input last night — like workplace laser word tag.  Zap.  Zap.

Zap.

For me, “social” has always been about networking and learning outside and in the organization and taking the conversation offline to “live” to further discuss:

  • That job opportunity
  • That sweet hire opportunity
  • That business opportunity
  • That learning opportunity
  • That sharing knowledge opportunity
  • That mentoring opportunity
  • That business birth opportunity
  • That consulting opportunity
  • That collaborative R&D opportunity
  • That partnership opportunity
  • You know, these opportunities and more

Again, the key is taking these conversations offline to “live.” The anecdotal statistics are there for me and many others; I’ve generated many of those opportunities above as I’m sure many of you have as well.

But, the business metrics are still all over the place and underreported and overestimated.  Such is the life of a business metric, right?  I wrote a little about that yesterday in my post I say recruit how we do business, and do business how we recruit.

With the rise of the mobile/virtual workforce, I can’t imagine the world without organic and holistic social connectivity.

The “does not dig” camp is choking on the words organic and holistic right now.  We are here to share different views. Like a real workplace. Like a real social community.

Here were the questions we asked last night:

  • Q1: How has #SM specifically impacted the way you conduct a job search and manage your career?
  • Q2: Within your org, how have #SM platforms/tools been used to enhance HR/recruiting initiatives?
  • Q3: Within your org, how have #SM platforms/tools been used to enhance learning initiatives?
  • Q4: How have #SM platforms/tools been effective – or not – at any or all levels within your org?
  • Q5: What business metrics have you established to measure how effective your #SM efforts are?
  • Q6: What specific barriers do you see within your org that impede top to bottom acceptance of platforms/tools?
  • Q7: Be honest – how do you see yourself improving your efficacy in utilizing #SM platforms/tools within your org?

Thank you to all who participated.  It’s good folk like you who make every #TChat a lightning learning round of workplace laser word tag.

Zap.

Social is about us, not the technology.

Here were the top contributors from last night:

  1. @talentculture – 172
  2. @meghanmbiro – 129
  3. @KevinWGrossman – 105
  4. @IanMondrow – 89
  5. @JeffWaldmanHR – 79
  6. @gregoryfarley – 77
  7. @LevyRecruits – 77
  8. @CyndyTrivella – 64
  9. @dawnrasmussen – 53
  10. @Kimberly_Roden – 52

See you next week, January 25, 2011, 8-9 pm ET (5-6 pm PT).

Critical Thinking: Asking the "Right" Questions

Originally posted by Chris Jones, a TalentCulture contributing writer. He is an IT Strategy & Change Management consultant, with a passion for driving new levels of engagement and learning in the modern organization. His research areas include the dynamics of organization culture, and more recently, the importance and implications of critical thinking. Check out his blog, Driving Innovation in a Complex World, for more

We’ve all been assured there’s no such thing as a stupid question.  If you’ve taken the time to ask, the story goes, you must have wanted to learn something.  That’s certainly a step in the right direction.

In the hyper accelerated world of social media, of course, you better keep those questions coming.  Contacts are made and broken in a matter of minutes.  Exchanges in chats or online work groups can be fleeting.  Sometimes the conversation seems to end just after its started, though hours may have ticked off the clock.  The prize, it seems, goes to those with the fastest keystrokes and the greatest brevity, the true masters of online multi-tasking.

I agree with the conventional wisdom. Those skills are helpful.  And I’d like to add to those dynamics a completely different one.

Quite simply, it comes down to critical thinking.

I’m not mandating academic degrees or journalistic analysis here, though we’ll borrow a page or two from those spaces.

What we’re talking about is putting careful thought into the deeper questions behind the points that are being broadcast so rapidly in front of you.  Challenging the ‘why?’, or the ‘how?’, and importantly, ‘under what cirumstances?’.

All of these thought processes have introduced the notion of ‘critical thinking’, an increasingly important aspect of our virtual society.  Its the very fuel of the ideas that are generated when we have a conversation.  Sadly, in our modern world, critical thinking gives way to the mechanical communication of our personal and professional lives. “Have you taken out the trash?”  “What’s the weather tomorrow?”  “Did you get the report out on time?”  We become almost robotic in our actions and in our relationships, with devastating results.  Without focus or reinforcement of an active mind, the knack and appetite for creativity can literally drain from our lives.  And our most important relationships – those with family, close friends, and immediate coworkers – are jeopardized, all due to lack of focused energy and interest.

We talked a few posts back about engagement and how to connect with those around us.  Those themes and steps remain critical.

We’ve also talked about culture, where a bias for learning and connecting in our world helps shape our attitudes.  Bringing this discussion forward, Carol Dweck, PhD, in her book, Mindset (2006), talks about “growth mindset” as a way to approach the world that brings critical thinking front and center.  I suggest you track down this book, and read it.  If you’re behind in your reading, I plan to summarize it’s main points in a future post.

Cultures of learning and a knack for engagement are a critical combination.  These initial conditions create the opportunity – if we choose to take it – to ask the right questions.  And there are dividends to those who take the time and make the effort.

So what are the right questions?  At the risk of generalizing, I’d hazard a definition that they are:

Open-ended queries that challenge the listener’s knowledge base, exposing root causes or unseen problems, and providing alternative contexts that create a spark for the inception of a new (or enhanced) idea.

The ability to change frame of reference is important.  Some of the magic in challenging our preconceived notions comes from changes in point of view.  Here are some examples.

  1. You’ve just met a person online that seems to share your perspectives, but your domain expertise is different from theirs; what introductory tweet is most likely to gain their interest and prompt a response?
  2. A well known figure is tweeting in a chat session.  Many will simply RT or respond with “love your book.”  How else might you engage them in genuine way, as a means to expand the conversation?
  3. You’re embroiled in a dispute with a coworker that is impacting your team and your relationship with this person. Do you vent to anyone who will listen, escalate to the boss, or get quality time with the person to get to the core of the problem?  If the latter, how would you approach it?

Are these the right questions?  Well these 3 certainly won’t change the world.  But they may help you get that gray matter into gear again.  In the end, perhaps there is no such thing as a stupid question or a “right” question.  But the excellent, thought-provoking questions are out there, and they take a little work.  Challenge yourself to come up with a few, and try them out on the folks who seem to care about the topics that you care about.

If you do this often, especially via twitter or blog comments (as both seem to bring higher than average appetites for engagement), I think you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll be in conversations on topics that matter, often with people who can help make a difference.

Learning. Personal development. Progress. Who knew? Aren’t those some of the main reasons we engage with others in the first place?

Going Back to (Collaboration) Basics [Part 2]

As digital workers, we spend a lot of time collaborating online. TalentCulture has previously featured several articles by the great Jeff Wilfong and Chris Jones highlighting some of the high-level processes and theories that dictate successful collaboration. Now, it’s time to get back to the basics.

This is part two of a two-part series. View Going Back to (Collaboration) Basics Part 1

1. Use descriptive file names.

The Problem: We often share documents that are stored in our own space and with out own organizational method (or lack thereof).  The trouble is your naming convention might only make sense to you. When you send that document titled “FINAL_draft” to your boss, it might not be easy for her to know what that “FINAL_draft” document in her downloads folder is. Your third grade teachers wouldn’t accept Spelling tests without your name at the top. If you’ve ever tried to figure out where a document came from and who wrote it, I’m sure you understand that need for an effective label.

The Solution: Put your name and a brief, accurate description in the document title of everything you save (if applicable, include a date as well.) If you download a file with an ambiguous name, rename it right away. It will save you and others time and effort.

2. Use Microsoft Word’s “Track Changes” feature.

The Problem: Many times, we try to collaborate by passing around multiple copies of the same document at different stages of the editing process. That usually ends with collapsing four or more versions of the same document into a final copy.

The Solution: You can of course use a collaborative document editor like those found on online collaboration services such as Bascamp, Wiggio and Google Docs. But we’re focusing on the basics here, so let’s talk about what features Microsoft Word has to offer. If you use the Track Changes feature in the Tools section of the menu, you can see which user on your team made which suggestions or comments. You can then accept or reject those changes. It’s an easy way to pass a document around and see edits before crafting a final draft.

Going Back to (Collaboration) Basics

As digital workers, we spend a lot of time collaborating online. TalentCulture has previously featured several articles by the great Jeff Wilfong and Chris Jones highlighting some of the high-level processes and theories that dictate successful collaboration. Now, it’s time to get back to the basics.

This is part one of a two-part series on the basics of online collaboration, and the everyday tools we overlook or misuse.

1. Apply Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques to email.

The Problem: Many email programs have evolved beyond simple send-and-receive features of the mid-ninties. Now, without realizing it, many of us are using our inboxes for data storage. The problems occur when we want to find information from last week, month or year. We use the search functions to rummage through old emails and attachments and spend what amounts to hours of our workweek simply searching for information we’ve already read.

The Solution: Understand the basic concepts behind search engine optimization and how those apply to the way we use email. I once received an email from my father containing an attachment with important information about eye doctors approved by our health insurance plan. The subject of the email was “here it is;” the body read “here you go,” and the attachment document title was a series of numbers. How I was supposed to find that email when I really needed it to call a doctor during business hours is beyond me. The simple solution is to fill out the subject and body of your emails with keyword-rich content. When writing an email, always ask yourself, “Does this email contain information the recipient(s) will need later? If so, how can I write this email so that it shows up when they search their inbox?”

2. Save your Microsoft Office files in the more common .DOC  and .PPT formats.

The Problem: We waste so much time and frustration dealing with the ramifications of Microsoft’s attempt to force its “customers” to buy the latest software. When Office 2007 was released for Windows, it introduced the new default file format .docx that could not be opened by previous versions of Microsoft Word. The same problems arose with .pptx formats, the new PowerPoint default and .xlsx files, the new Excel format.

The Solution: If everyone saved everything as .doc and .ppt files, the world would be a safer, happier place. Unfortunately, we don’t live in digital paradise. Just remember that since new versions of Microsoft Office are backwards compatible, saving files as .doc and .ppt is always the safest bet. However, you can’t expect your colleagues, clients, and classmates to be as tech-savvy as you are, TalentCulture reader. Download a solid file converter to save yourself the stress. (Note, however, that file conversions aren’t foolproof so if you need to share files, you still need to be mindful of this suggestion.)

3. When initiating or replying to a group email, put careful thought into who needs to be included in the to: and cc: lists.

The Problem: The single biggest flaw with email is that its cc and reply-all features are used for online collaboration. One classmate of mine was working on a group project that sparked an email chain of over 100 messages. She was not using an email client that organized that chain into a single conversation, so when we checked her email, her entire inbox was full of emails all with the same title.

At the other end of the spectrum, how many of us have waited for a reply to an email from someone who we (days later) realize was never cc’d on the original reply? I know I have.

The Solution: Think carefully about who needs to be cc’d on an email chain and who does not. Email is not the best tool for online collaboration, so if possible, it’s best to take longer and more complicated group-focused issues off of email and into a meeting of conference call. That saves everyone the time of clarifying what he or she means in text-only form.

*Google has made a thus far failed attempt at solving issues surrounding Reply All and CC misuse with Google Wave. You can always give that a try in your online collaboration needs since it’s open to the public now.

Keep an eye out for part two of this series next week!

Musings on the Collaborative Enterprise

EDITORIAL NOTE: This guest post was written by Jeff Wilfong.

Dan Pontefract recently wrote in a blog post, The Holy Trinity: Leadership Framework, Learning 2.0 & Enterprise 2.0, about some rather interesting intersections for collaboration in the enterprise. He observes that with regard to Enterprise 2.0 (social media / technology for business):

  • Learning and knowledge management employees are attempting to integrate them into formal strategies (Learning 2.0),
  • Human resources and organization development consultants are focusing on leadership, values, and training programs (“Updated Leadership Framework”),
  • Technology workers are trying to adapt them to tools already used in the enterprise (Enterprise 2.0), and
  • Corporate communications and marketing are trying to figure out how to use them independently to simplify and streamline their work.

He believes this separated strategy of collaboration creates the “holy trinity” of what is occurring in many companies.

Simply put, this sort of organization is not truly collaborative, but haphazardly trying to implement social tools within distinct silos. Unfortunately, to effectively gather as many benefits as possible, the collaboration strategy must be consistent, congruent, and holistic of the whole, entire enterprise.

For me, when I think of an organization, I see a more mature start-up company, except that often times the policies, structure and norms have reduced the ability of the organization to be as innovative as it once was (the baby organization being the start-up). Why is this? As companies grow, as they mature into adults, special interests form. People wish to protect their silos, whether it be to protect their own jobs, to bolster prestige or power, or to save their teammates. Invariably policies and procedures get written from the results of thousands of meetings, which detract from the original mission of the organization (to be productive and innovative in some market).

The power of 2.0 is in integrating the organization so that arbitrary divisions of communication begin to open up into collaboration. When people are working together, talking together and acting together, the organization can truly accomplish more than sum of its employees. However, organizations often accomplish far less than the sum of its employees, in part because of barriers that get erected. E2.0 (Enterprise 2.0) technologies are only effective as the structure, culture, and attitude of leaders in an organization. Sure, people want to also be rewarded for collaboration, but this will come after the fundamentals are built. Down the line, I can help businesses measure collaboration, assess how collaborative employees feel their workplace is, and then reward them for appropriate behavior. However, large enterprises are looking for quicker solutions.

Many, many, many people are calling for organizations to rethink their silos right now, perhaps more than ever. However, very few organizations are proactively removing silos or barriers in a strategic way, and most organizations have adopted a wait-and-see attitude. They want to test out the ideal communication technologies before changing the siloed approach that have “worked” for them thus far. Yet, because 2.0 is a game changer culturally, we see all sorts of changes already happening.

Organizations need to be mindful of the dangers of creating siloed collaboration technologies and policies. We must not let Enterprise 2.0 go down that path; we must allow it to revolutionize the way people come together, work together and act together.

Author Jeff Wilfong has assisted with web 2.0 and business strategy for a number of large-scale organizations, such as Conoco-Phillips, the City of Sacramento and a multinational conglomerate based in India.  Jeff is currently earning his PhD in Organization Development with emphasis in Web 2.0 management. Learn more by visiting his site, E2.0 Pros.

Social Community: Metaphor for the Workplace. Find Your Intent

Recently I wrote about models of interaction within cultures and social communities that foster progress. I’d like to push the theme a bit further and look at social communities – which are really communities of intent – and how they can serve as a useful metaphor for the workplace.

Intent is one of those words that have taken on new meaning with the advent of search and search marketing. The trick that Google mastered so well is serving up information to consumers at the moment of intent (thanks to John Battelle, Andrei Broder and others; see some older material on intent here) – intent to act, to purchase, to decide. “Intent” is not only an action the searcher takes; it is a commitment the provider of information (the vendor or service), and the search service (Google, Yahoo, Bing), make to the individual searching for information.

In social communities, intent is more than interest, more than commitment, more than an informed notion. It’s the true power behind the community, because people come to communities with a purpose, an intent. They are looking for a place to be, a place to learn, a place to grow and interact in a meaningful way.

The trick then, for companies, is to behave as social communities. It’s a powerful and new metaphor for the workplace.

In a typical workplace there are people with many different personalities, personal brands, goals, aspirations, skill sets and attributes. In a healthy workplace, meaning one that focuses on ensuring personality/culture fit between employees and the organization, people of diverse skill sets and temperaments can collaborate and succeed – because they have the intent to succeed, and the social context – the community – in which to realize their intent.

TalentCulture, for example, is a collaborative social community, a community of intent, a metaphor for the workplace. Our contributors come from many backgrounds: executive leadership,  human resources, recruiting, marketing, new media, research, public relations, law, branding, innovation, venture capital, career coaching, entrepreneurship and software technology. The shared intent is to create and share the very latest perspectives and trends on growing your business and reaching your individual career goals – using them to grow and foster innovation.

So here’s a challenge: find your intent. Share it with others. Be passionate. Be creative. Make every action resonate with the intent to do something positive, something to improve your workplace or advance the idea of what a collaborative workplace or social community should be.
And keep us in the loop.

Image Credit: Pixabay