A lost soul – What will I do without Enterprise 2.0?

So now that I have left the church, walked out and declared my apostasy while throwing up my arms, what will I do? Where will I find meaning?

The passing of Enterprise 2.0 has been redeeming for me. I can now set out, with Pablo and Rocinante by my side, to tell this story.

Here is what I will evangelize quietly, in hushed conversations and late night phone calls:

People can be happy, and there is an economic model for happiness.
I always preface this with “it sounds cheesy”, but it’s a fact of a good use of social software in the enterprise. When people learn to discover eachother, when someone finds their voice or is seen as an expert, there is a fulfillment that the accomplishment culture of a typical organization can’t match.

Your vendor is only as good as you are.
Remember when buying software was simple? IT did the analysis, you could let a manager make the final decision, then you signed off on it.

Those were simple times.

You see, if you want to be successful with social computing in your organization — you have to bet on it and not look back. The fallacy that most vendors want you to believe is that you can simply buy their software, and that will change something about your organization. Come by the Demo Pavilion here in Boston and you’ll see what I mean.

What does it mean to bet on it? You first have to get comfortable with it yourself, understand not just the argument or the analysis, but you have to fully connect with the essence of what you are going to be asking of people. You want them to be open, but what are you doing?

The most interesting organizations are the “old” ones
Supply Chains, Accounting, Product Development, Training, HR. Some of the most boring parts of organizations are quickly showing up as the most opportune places to do worthwhile things.

Helping a bunch of software developers write a spec on a wiki is, I am afraid, not much fun and doesn’t fundamentally change the bottom line of an organization (not that it doesn’t, it is a cost savings after all, but it’s not dramatic enough to show up at a board meeting, at least not what I have seen).

You can’t plan this stuff, try as you might
A very energetic “Enterprise -.- Evangelist” spoke out from the crowd during a panel session yesterday here at the Enterprise -.- conference. She was emphatic that, with the right strategy and process, you could have your entire organization adopt Enterprise -.- technologies. The same person also suggested that the Chief Knowledge Officer was the best place to go to get funds for your Enterprise 2.0 project.

At the core of Enterprise Social Computing, at the center of blogging and the ethos of Open Space is the idea that things emerge.

• Whoever comes are the right people
• Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
• Whenever it starts is the right time
• When it’s over, it’s over

How then do you plan the result of an emergent idea? All we can do is plan for emergence, which means that we can set up a supportive environment in which new ideas can grow. That is different from setting expectations. If you expect new products to get developed, then they probably will. If you expect teams to use social software to collaborate, then you will probably find that they do, but was that the best thing they could have done? You’ll never know, because you over-planned the whole thing.

You are an influencer, no matter who you are
You are not a manager, you are not a CEO, you are not a marketer, you are not a cook, a waitress, a cashier or a chairman.

None of those titles accomplish anything anymore. In a flattened organization, you only have your influence, and you have to earn and maintain that influence.

No matter what level you sit at in your organization today, you can influence people. There are stories to tell, ideas to spread and lunches to eat. Get to it. Ask people what they think your organization would be like without Management. Ask them what it would be like if everyone was Management.

There is more, but this is getting long.

2 thoughts on “A lost soul – What will I do without Enterprise 2.0?

  1. Great article Jevon. I really am digging all of this Enterprise 2.0 stuff. It really empowers front-line employees, many of whom had lost their “voice” in the last 20 years or so.

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