May 17, 2010

Leadership 1.0 in the Organization 2.0



So here's a scenario. At an organization they communicate majorly with each other using email. People get cc'ed and "fyi" is common, and employees have come to hate the plethora of emails they have to wade through every morning.

On the other hand, there never seems to be information when one needs it. Documents are stored in servers made in a tree structure the logic of which remains with the person who started it (and who's no longer with the firm)

To ease the confusion the HR manager of that firm invests in a modest cloud based social technology offering. A "Facebook for the organization" is born. There is a microsharing option where people can share useful links, their updates and other files and documents. There are shared wiki-based workspaces where groups of people collaborate on documents and spreadsheets.

Slowly people start to notice a change. Some people who take to the new system, seem to be the ones who enjoy doing so. They love the serendipity of discovering new things and creating other things.

However, there are others who sneer at these approaches. They stick to email and documents on their hard drive. The more the evangelists try to convince them - the more they go back to the old ways "Have you seen anyone else using it? What about the top management? If they won't why should we? This new thing is just a fad. It'll go away. Why change our way of working?"

So while the benefits of social tools are apparent, and people are connecting and learning from each other - the organization will not really move to becoming an open organization if the organizational leadership does not believe and support it whole-heartedly.

The tools are just the visible part of the change - but as Gary Hamel says it will really occur when we reinvent management (and leadership!) for the 21st century.

Check out this case study on how a firm Built the Social Web into the Fabric of the Organization

The process has to be both, focusing on the tools as well as the context, culture and processes to support the new way of working. The organization 2.0 cannot be supported with Leadership 1.0