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Living what I work

This post takes origin from two recent excellent articles I read:

When I read the first article, I felt that I was called in. Not because I am in marketing nor because I am part of any of these new approaches and committees.The McKinsey article makes some clear examples of what I call “formal engagement” (an engagement driven and pushed by the organization). But what is in for me?

I work for a company (IBM) and I am, obviously, attached to the success of my company in the market. But is it “enough” ? I mean, doing my job, trying to do it in the better way I can.. these are all good things. I am paid for this, after all!

But the article made me thinking as if I am on “the other side”. I am a customer now. (Well, I am a customer many times during my week!). What motivates me to be attentive to what other people try to sell me? What drives my choice in being more open to listening the message from Company_A instead than Company_B?

This is where I felt “called in”. Regardless from my place in the organization or the tasks I am asked to execute as part of my job…. am I able to deliver the right attention to customers and prospects and ease their life when interacting with me?

 

And here comes the second article.

Work can be more than a job when it stands for something you care about.

‘I’m feeling lucky.’ That’s certainly how I feel coming to work every day, and something I never want to take for granted

Again, Innovation and the experience Susan shared in the article, are great things. But, once again, the personal engagement in what I do, the passion I am doing it, is imho fundamental for both Innovation and for addressing the new market challenges.

I am lucky so far because I am given the opportunity to present, explain, share what I experiment each day. I am lucky because “I am living what I work”, meaning that I can really share what I think is a great way of working. The opportunity I have to talk and explain and share experiences about “Living Social” in the enterprise (and outside of it), reflects the experience I am doing each day. It is not something “I have to do because it is a good thing and because this brings me money in my pocket”. It is something that permeates my work life.

Get Social. What is in for me ?

During the last couple of months, I had several opportunities to talk about “Social Software” and “IBM Connections” to customers. In this period I found myself insisting on a specific concept which I tried to develop customer after customer.

The concept is, imho, very simple. Social Software in the Enterprise is about consolidating the intellectual capital (IC) of the company. IC does not comprise only what is stored in ECM; most of the IC is “transient” in the sense that it is shared among people, it goes hidden into a drawer, it gets forgotten into “C:”…
I think that the consolidation of IC is one of the major gains that Social Software can bring into the picture. Something that goes beyond churn, drawers, hard-drives. And, I think, that this may be one of the possible selection criteria that a company may use to validate the choice of a product: “does product XYZ help me to successfully consolidate the IC of my company?

What I tried to do was to reformulate that same concept for different profiles in the enterprise in order to try to address the question “What is in for me?” at different levels. This because we frequently get objections of the type:

  • “I do not have enough time to do it…”
  • “my people are here to work, not to talk…”
  • “Seems interesting… but what is the ROI of this?”

I have shared a previous post on this point, where I acknowledge the ideas I have found in a very nice article about being able to set the right priorities. I want to share my approach with you.

For Executives: What is in for me ?

Executives should care most about the consolidation of IC:

  • People join a company and leave it.
  • New opportunity arise where it is important to quickly deploy skilled resources.
    How to nurture skills? How to ensure that experiences become part of the background?
  • Each company needs to develop its differentiators in order to chase new market opportunities.
    Corporate culture is what makes the difference, it is the ground on which talents can flourish… How to build a corporate culture based on living experiences?

So, for executives the “What is in for me?” may translate into : how is it possible to consolidate IC and develop my corporate culture in an incremental way? What if people in the company would be able to contribute, each one of them with her own experience, a little glass of water to fill the ocean?

For Managers: What is in for me ?

A Manager has all the interest if her team would be a model in consolidating the corporate IC! Why shouldn’t she encourage people in her team to focus on what really matters for the company and, slowly but steadily, contribute to the culture?

I mean; of course it is fundamental that each person in the team fully concentrates on the priorities and on the schedule. Here we are not defending any anarchical idea whereby people develop long term personal  interests instead of doing their work: here we are saying that instead of leaving good ideas, great discussions, living experiences fall on a stony ground, it may be wiser to have them falling on good earth so that seeds could develop into flowers and trees.

A manager should be proud to drive her team to meet the goals of her company.

For Employees : What is in for me ?

And how does this translate for an employee?
Well, in the current work environment, where we are all deployed on different projects, we are doing several tasks at the same time and where it is more difficult to build strong relationships based on proximity and on long term planning, the possibility to be “the seed which brings a flower” is a career opportunity. It is source of recognition.

And, why not, it is also a possibility of developing interests that go beyond the small perimeter of the projects on which people are deployed (and that are not always chosen by employees….)

When you choose a Social Software platform for your company, make sure that you choose a platform that allows People (Executives, Managers, Employees) to properly build together a company culture by consolidating the corporate IC! Do not choose a platform which only allows people to collaborate or to partially share some information. Choose a platform that puts People at the centre of the experience. As my friend Louis Richardson says: “do not change your business in something different but make your business social!”

From "You" to "Them"

Of course, this is NOT the official cover for the POY of Times. But it is a very interesting story (thanks Dvir for having sent the pointer). Quoting the article from Times:

[timePOY_coverImage.jpg]"Don’t get me wrong: all the things that made You You in 2006 are still there. All year long, You were YouTubing, Facebooking, Twittering, chronicling Your life and community, scrutinizing the candidates and the media, videotaping Yourself getting upset on behalf of Britney Spears.

But who made the big noise in the Web 2.0 world this year? It was Them. The professionals, the old-media people, the moneymen — all of Them, conscious that there was profit in Your little labor-of-love socialist paradise. Story of Your life, right? You make the discoveries, They make the Benjamins.

So if 2006 was the year of You, 2007 was the year of Them. Big media companies (like this one) stuffed their sites with blogs, podcasts and video. "

This is, actually, true. And I think that, overall, this has been a good progress for everybody.

How to get Immunity against e-mail?

I thought I would share another couple of sentences I read in a book have very much liked. The book is another masterpiece, The Tipping Point. In the afterword there is a little chapter, titled "Beware the Rise of Immunity". The following are excerpts from there:

The fact that anyone can e-mail us for free, if they have our address, means that people frequently and persistently e-mail us. But that quickly creates immunity, and simply makes us value face-to-face communications – and the communications of those we already know and trust – all the more.

When people are overwhelmed with information and develop immunity to traditional forms of communication, they turn instead for advice and information to the people in their lives whom they respect, admire and trust. The cure for immunity is finding Mavens, Connectors and Salesmen.

During this period I am seeing many posts around "Resolutions for the New Year" which explicitly state that inbox-zero is one of the priorities. So, we could say that

The proper use of Social Software can actually be the cure for immunity. 

social software for businessAnd Lotus Connections can actually provide a big help in looking for Mavens, Connectors and Salesmen inside your community.

The Power User wears Prada

The Devil Wears PradaYesterday I saw the movie “The Devil wears Prada“.

You remember when Miranda asks for the yet-to-be-published copy of Harry Potter?
The way in which Andy manages the situation, by delivering two copies of the book to the twins before they take the train and giving an additional copy to Miranda, anticipating her objection and exceeding her expectation, is so great that I could not resist from immediately thinking to a sentence that I often use in my presentations for Lotus Connections or Web 2.0:

It’s not what work you expect Employee #1234 to accomplish per person-month of work……
It’s the work you never expected would happen, that suddenly creates new business

I hope that no one has to do impossible things in order to really create a new opportunity, but the example was so sharp and sticky !
It really, I think, makes it clear that it is important, today, to be innovative and clever in whichever action we do, in order to apply the passion that is inside us.

IBM Lotus Connections Demo – The Real Thing!

I want here to promote the excellent article of my friend Luis: IBM Lotus Connections Demo – The Real Thing .
This post introduces Lotus Connections, the new Social Networking product that IBM announced at Lotusphere.

In this quote from Luis’s post, please find the details about how to get to the live screencast that IBM made available:

As you may be able to see from the Web site where the screencast is stored, you can watch the demo live or rather download it
so that you can view it a later time offline. Whatever is easier for
you. And also for those folks who may be looking for the script of the
screencast you can also download it from here.

Thus without much further ado and without taking too much time off from you for the demo itself, I would strongly encourage you all to take a look into the screencast on Lotus Connections and find out some more as to how IBM
is planning to progress further into adopting social computing within
the Enterprise and beyond. I bet that you will find it quite
entertaining and enlightening. Because, above all, you will be able to
see something very important and which may not be just related to
Connections, nor to IBM itself: the fact that you can conduct effective business
using social computing to address real customers issues and find
solutions for them in the shortest time possible by empowering people
to reach out for information and connect with other knowledge workers.
Yes, that is right. Putting together the best of both worlds: knowledge and the people behind that knowledge. Can social computing get better than this? I doubt it.

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