Friday, 27 June 2008

Enterprise 2.0 - A Strategic Framework

CIPD have recently published a Research Insight discussion paper on 'Web 2.0 and Human Resources'.

NOTE: I was very pleased to be able to contribute a brief case-study outlining the growing success of our company wiki 'Pfizerpedia'.

[for comment on the CIPD paper see Jon Ingham's thoughtful blog post]

Reflecting on this work (and Jon's comments) - I feel we need to revisit the concept of 'Enterprise 2.0' to ensure organisations (and their HR departments) don't overlook the business implications/opportunities beyond their 'firewall'.

Enterprise 2.0 was originally coined by Andrew McAfee of Harvard, defining it as:

"the use of emergent social software platforms within companies and their partners or customers"

This definition nicely captures the external opportunities with business 'partners or customers' - but (for me) fails to consider the need to organisations to engage with the social aspects of Web 2.0 technologies.

In 'HR-speak', consideration needs to be given to the impact on the psychological contract of banning Facebook. Also, if there are explicit expectations on how staff should behave outside of work (eg relating to defining employment consequences for illegal actions), no doubt this should apply on-line as well as in the physical world.

Given that there can no longer be an expectation of employment-for-life, I'd suggest there is a further consideration - that of professional identity (or personal brand).

If a colleague is to maximise their career through a portfolio of roles/companies, then this needs to be a blend of social collaboration & organisational collaboration, rather than just contained within the enterprise.

Hence, I believe there is merit in defining Enterprise 2.0 simply as:

"the organisational strategy for leveraging and managing Web 2.0 technologies"

Moreover, I'd suggest that this can be considered as the blend of:

  • Organisation 2.0 (leveraging & managing on-line collaboration to achieve business outcomes)

  • Professional 2.0 (leveraging & managing on-line collaboration to enhance organisational talent)

  • Social 2.0 (leverage & managing on-line collaboration to enhance colleague engagement and workplace performance)

Also, that it can be helpful to distinguish between what happens internally (ie through a private intranet), vs. externally (via the Internet).

This is illustrated in the following diagram:

I hope this provides a much richer framework for HR and others to view 'Enterprise 2.0' opportunities !

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Interesting Links (June 2008)

Want to Boost Productivity? Give Workers Bigger Screens

From Harvard Business - Discussion Leaders

The easiest way to increase the productivity of people working on computers is to increase the size of their monitors. I recently suggested that a firm add an additional screen for all its customer service workers and you can see below that in a month’s time, the time per call decreased from about three minutes and fifty seconds down to three minutes and twenty seconds – a 12% improvement -- with no additional training or change in the work load or work design.

...... Most people don’t know that you can add an additional screen to any laptop and, by changing the desktop settings, which takes less than a minute, create a continuous work space from one screen to the next. The mouse moves across; you can drag applications to the other screen seamlessly. (Windows can drive up to 10 screens.)

Why bother? Well, two screens lets you open two full-sized windows or applications at once, so if you are looking at your email, you can also see your calendar, or open a document. With the trivial cost of 15-to-19-inch screens, many now under $100, every knowledge worker should have at least two screens. They will pay for themselves almost immediately.

I've always resisted having a small flat screen - preferring my trusty old but large CRT. Only recently someone showed me how to use it in combination with my Laptop screen when docked. And I'd agree with this article .... spread the word !


Top Ten Reasons for Top Ten Lists

Here is that Top 10 list from Tom Davenport of Harvard ! enjoy


Team-Building with Wikis

Here is an interesting post from the Socialtext blog.

Advice includes:

Next time you have a new team member, and thus, a new team, consider these simple practices for team building:

  • Project shared notes in a wiki page while meeting
  • Start an initiative to document best practices, kicking off with a conversation about basic language and how to structure information architecture. Revisit as a group on a regular basis until it takes off on its own.
  • Augment your next leadership offsite with an Wiki Eventspace to: (i) flush out the agenda beforehand, (ii) have participants create profiles including answering topical questions, (iii)
    organize communication, (iv) shared notes and in-session conversation, & (v) structure new initiatives on the fly
  • Look for major exceptions to business process to rapidly form an expert group focused not just on resolution in rapid time, but documenting learnings in the process
  • Look for common editing exercises, from mission statements to press releases
  • Encourage rich profiles, blog posts and wiki expression not just about work, but the things that help others understand the identities behind their words and work. Even if its blogging about cats. If you clamp down on tone, it wont be fun (especially compared to paintball). This is not a directed side activity, and these conversations occur in the lunchroom and by the watercooler anyway, just with less distribution and persistence.


What Will You Regret ?

Marshall Goldsmith reflects here on a great question to ask of leaders:

In your experience, what are the biggest regrets people have at the end of their careers? What do people wish they had learned sooner?

As Marshall states:
"This is a great question. A wise person learns from experience. A wiser person learns from someone else’s experience. The best way to answer this question is to ask the people who actually have the experience."

A key insight is that although most of us go through our careers fearing failure- "people don’t regret their failures and that most people wished they had risked more. Trying and failing is something we can deal with. The happiest people felt they had pursued their dreams and stretched themselves in their lives and careers. So we are more likely to regret having not tried for a dream than to have failed at it. This is particularly interesting because most of us think failure is about the worst thing that can happen to us but it turns out that not trying or playing it safe in our careers is what we should actually be worrying about."


Motivation Disconnect: How Organizations Fail to Motivate Managers

John Baldoni at Harvard reflects here on a recent study from Ashridge

"If you want to drive motivation, you know your people. Some may be motivated by an equity stake, but so often others want to do good and interesting work, and be recognized for it. The lesson of the Ashridge study, like so many others before it, is that people wanted to be treated as individuals. And that is motivational in itself."

Friday, 20 June 2008

Revisiting the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People"

It had been a while since I last read the classic text by Covey on "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People". So it was good to have the opportunity recently to attend a 45 min overview of this scholarship from the FranklinCovey Organisation

[NOTE: for a great summary of the book - click here]

With so much written on the subject - I doubt that I have any new insights to offer on this work.

Equally, I was struck by a couple of things:

Firstly: the book is nearly 20 years old, with over 15 million sold. So - it is somewhat depressing to continue to see the statistics that show that this 'common sense' is still not 'common practice'.

According to FranklinCovey:

Only 31% of people say they "focus on things they can impact, rather than on things they can't"

33% of people say they "live by the principle that 'my success is your success' "

32% of people "actively seek out differing viewpoints"

Hence, I wonder to what extent these statistics are driven by (i) a lack of knowing/remembering the concepts provided by Covey; (ii) a lack of belief in the model ...i.e. that these 'habits' do correlate with effectiveness; and/or (iii) a lack of ability in workers to put the model into practice.

Does anyone have any insights on this ?

Secondly: Re - Habit 7 'Sharpen the Saw' "to maintain and increase effectiveness, we must renew ourselves in body, heart, mind and soul"

... while many L&D professionals will be familiar with posing the question of "Assuming you have a year to live, what legacy would you want to leave ?" (or something similar) to get to the heart of what is important for people. I also liked their use of the question:

"Assume your knowledge and skills will be obsolete in two years. What new learning avenues would you explore ?"

While we all hope that the 'a year to live' is a significant under-estimate - skills & knowledge being obsolete in two years feels much less of an underestimate these days !

Thursday, 12 June 2008

L&D 'Transfer Climate'

Training Industry Quarterly (Spring 2008) has an interesting article on L&D 'Return on Investment'.

The title is somewhat confusing 'Take your ROI to Level 6' - given that normally Kirkpatrick is cited as 4 levels. [when expressed as 5 - these are (i) reaction; (ii) knowledge; (iii) behaviour; (iv) impact; & (iv) ROI]

The new sixth Level is proposed (by author Paul Leone of American Express) to be 'Transfer Climate'

This is defined as 'Assessment of factors in the learners' work environment (climate) that will help or hinder the transfer of learning'

This seems very similar to the 'Success Case Method' promoted by Brinkerhoff (see this earlier post on this blog) !

Rather than debate this - I'm more interested in the finding presented from studies at American Express (studying over 2000 managers, attending one of their core leadership programmes).

Leone states "..we found the true impact of a training program will best be predicted by the work climate each participant returns to after the event..."

Key enablers were:

  • manager clearly communicates endorsement and support for the training - sets goals and expectations before learner initiates learning event
  • manager follows up with participant after the event to discuss what was learned and how to apply
  • manager recognizes and rewards improved leadership behaviour

The article highlights that blended learning makes it easier to design formal training that encourages the above - e.g. leader-led kick-off & wrap-up sessions.

What are additional best practises being used by the L&D profession to influence the managers of those attending training courses ?

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Tricks of the Mind (by Derren Brown)

Not obvious reading for HR/L&D Professionals - but having had it recommended to me, I recently found myself engrossed in this book.

There seems to be an increasing focus within HR on understanding how the brain works. For example: both David Rock (Quiet Leadership) and Guy Sutton (Director of Medical Biology Interactive/University of Nottingham) have spoken at HRD. [NB: For a great summary of the latter see the Epic blog.]

As stated by Rock: "If people are being paid to think, isn't it time the business world found out what the thing doing the work, the brain, is all about? "

In part, Derren Brown's book 'Tricks of the Mind', helps explore the working of the brain.

There is a wealth of information on Memory - and the tricks of the trade used in memory feats. While it may be debated in this age of 'Google', promoting a good memory of facts and figures is important (vs. developing the skills of reasoning, debate etc...) - at very least it should help trainers rapidly remember the names of delegates attending a course !

A key component of moving 'information' from short-term memory (with its very limited capacity) to long-term involves the power of images. Given that these images need to be relevant to the individual, I'm not sure this insight should have presenters using PowerPoint reaching for the Clipart. Rather let me suggest: learning interventions need to build in reflection exercises that guide participants to link key concepts to pictures they create in their own mind.

Another area that will be familiar territory to many L&D colleagues, is Thinking Traps

The class 'Monty Hall Problem' is included, together with other examples - all of which can be great ice-breakers within relevant training courses !

Clearly the relevance goes beyond fun ice-breakers since, as Brown highlights: "cognitive traps make us unwittingly prone to drastic misunderstanding of probability, which in turn can lead people to make poor decisions".

Within the section on 'Hypnosis & Suggestibility', Brown provides his assessment of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming). This is another area that often attracts the interest of trainers.

Brown discusses that: "One of the more sensible tenets of NLP is that the way you represent (anything you feel strongly about, as a) picture or film will affect the way you emotionally respond to it". He then illustrates how the mind can be directed to modify the picture, in turn modifying the associated emotional response.

I'd suspect that the style of this book will not be to everyone's taste, but it provides great insights into the psychology of magic - and as such give helpful perspectives on the working of the human brain !

Also see:

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Unconnected Employees

In the May copy of T+D (Training+Development) from ASTD, Anne Baber & Lynne Waymon provide an interesting article on 'Uncovering the Unconnected Employee'.

Unconnected Employees are defined as those who "lack the skills to build effective business relationships".

They provide a list of "8 Ways employees who don't network can hurt your business". This includes:

  • They get off to a slow start as new hires (which links to the theme of a recent post on this blog)
  • They are less successful managers (according to recent work published in the Academy of Management Journal: "Successful managers spend 70% more time networking...")
  • They don't know how to make their expertise known, so it can be used, and so they can advance in their careers.

A further check-list of 9 items is provided to assess "Is Your Organisation Network Friendly ?"

Particularly relevant for L&D/HR professionals are the following items:

  • Is networking training offered ?
  • Are networking activities included in employee performance plans ?
  • Are people rewarded for networking successes ?

What I found particularly interesting was the discussion presented on "Why employees aren't better relationship builders".

  • As to be expected: "Layoffs, mergers and acquisitions - these and other organisational earthquakes damage internal networks. Companies, however rarely help people rebuild them."
  • Less expected is the information that "Americans are becoming more shy" ... and Gen Y employees are the shyest (perhaps a better way of thinking about this is that overall they have lost some of the face-to-face interpersonal skills, because they 'balance' this with more intensive virtual collaboration than previous generations ... another driver for Enterprise 2.0 ?!)

To conclude, the authors state:

"We believe that creating networking competency is essential to support employee engagement, alignment and inclusion"

agreed !