Social Networks

Lee LeFever and his wife Sachi are at it again with another video Social Networks in Plain English, worth a watch.

Of interest is I really grok the concept that networks get things done, d’oh! Also a social network site allow you to uncover the hidden value of your social connections, be it for money, jobs, opportunity or love.

This is an ah ha moment for me or if you are switched on a “d’oh Michael is slow off the mark”. In organisations we all know it is not what you know but who you know that gets things done.

Have a problem in Finance, well call Bob, Control Manager, who you met at the last leadership course and get it solved, need a new product feature call Mary in product development. But you might not know that Mary knows Jane in product marketing who can get you those freebies for the special even you are running where the CEO of you biggest customer is attending. A social network system inside the organisation boundaries would solve this issue and expose these connections. The system has now allowed you to uncover value in your network to solve a real business issue. ROI.

Case in point many of our employees are now in LinkedIn, guess what I have started using LinkedIn to find new connection in my network, without even thinking about it!

The kicker is no one in “Corporate” or “HR” has authorised/deemed/declared/mandated the use of LinkedIn, it is growing organically which is the best feature of a social network (Web 2.0 technology/concepts/systems) and why Twitter works.  The real trick for people wanting to use Web 2.0 technology/concepts within an organisation is to have them grow organically! Ask you change management expert how to do that and I would guess most would not know how.

Always on connectivity and management

I wrote about hyperconnectivity a few days ago which is essentially a technology trend, but it is and will continue to have a profound impact on management both professional and personal. The basic issue is with everything always connected and communicating where does one draw the line?

Let’s take the obvious examples, BlackBerry’s and personal email.

I walk around the office these days and people seem to be always checking personal web based email during work hours. 10-15 years ago back in the days when personal phone calls were monitored, this would be unacceptable. But today management in most “knowledge worker” organisations seem to have accepted that personal email will get checked.

A side note IT organisations have a paradox to manage, they don’t want the work email system filled with personal emails, however personal web based emails allow for virus ladened files to be easily deposited into the corporation.

The BlackBerry and other push email devices have taken over our personal lives. I walk around shopping centres, restaurants, parks etc and there we have people checking work emails. Spouses, kids and friends are ignored while the process takes place. Again a portion of society now seems to accept that this will take place.

I haven’t even begun to touch on RSS readers, SMS messages, blogs, mobile phones but the same is true for all.

It is only going to get worse.

Over the last few weeks Microsoft in the UK set up a tree house in a park in down town London to show that with all this great new technology people can work anywhere, at anytime. They even have a new name for this type of work Moof, “Mobile out of office” with a blog. Where is the balance?

Web Worker Daily wrote about Busy vs Burst working styles back in April, based on James Governor’s post , a FastForward post, and a post from Harvard Business School professor Andrew McAfee. The basic idea across all posts is that we have a clash of cultures brewing around how work actually gets done in the workplace. Web Worker Daily summed it up nicely:-

Busy: Show your face during all standard working hours.
Burst: If you produce what you need to, we don’t care when you do it or how long it takes.

The bursty style can only succeed when you have an always on environment.

Here are a few questions I think we need to explore.

  1. As a manager how do you control both, personal and professional so one doesn’t take over the other?
  2. How do we manage the “social/knowledge/collaboration tool junkies” James Governor talks about?
  3. How do we measure productivity of the “social/knowledge/collaboration tool junkies”?
  4. Do we need to change the definition of productivity?
  5. How do you recruit a “social/knowledge/collaboration tool junkie”, what would the job description look like?
  6. How do we explain to the Busy people that the Burst people are actually getting their work done?
  7. If Bursty people can, or are perceived to, get their jobs done so quickly, should we expect more productivity out of them during 9 to 5?

There are some easy answers to some of the questions but I feel once we add everything together management is going to get very interesting.

5 minute management practices

Anna Farmery from over at the Engaging Brand, which if you have not described you must, posted about what to do in a spare 5 minutes.

  1. Send a quick handwritten note to someone who has developed, who has delivered, who has had a hard day.
  2. Write down one objective for tomorrow that is centred around getting the best from your team
  3. Smile – the most contagious emotion and let it spread to those around you.
  4. Write an action to have a coaching session with each person.
  5. Pick up your keys and go home. Your health, your energy are needed to keep the pace of change going so rest those brain batteries to improve your performance.

Just think about how much better your workplace would be if employees actually did these things, just once a day!� Not just managers, all employees.� Your organisation would very quickly become an employer of choice.� I would beat that your profits would also start to rise as employees started to feel an attachment to the organisation.

Just a thought.

Voting on HR Issues

I received an interesting email yesterday from Human Resources Magazine here in Australia about a new service that they are offering. They have setup a voting service (via BigPulse) that allows members to vote on HR topics, you can get to the service at

Right now to top 3 issues for HR professionals in Australia are:-

  1. Attraction/retention
  2. Talent management/succession planning
  3. Organisational change and development

There are 1155 registered members and at this stage only 45 votes have been placed so we don’t have a really valid representation but it will be interesting to what what happens. You can follow the voting without being a member.

I would love to be able to get a little banner on my site with the top 5, kind of like a buzz for HR.