Managers Who Don’t Get the Value of Emergent Collaboration Have No Strategic Compass


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In our “State of Enterprise 2.0 Collaboration Report” we found something interesting when we looked at manager resistance to these new tools and strategies. Some of the top reasons for manager resistance included uncertainty of tangible ROI and uncertainty of overall value of how emergent collaboration can meet business objectives. Fair enough right?

But then we looked at how organizations are measuring success of these efforts and found something far more interesting. We asked organizations if they were defining any type of key performance indicators and found that only 60% of organizations are doing so (only 25% said yes, the rest weren’t sure). So then we took this one step further and asked those organizations that said they were defining KPIs how close they were to achieving them. Almost half of these organizations (48%) said that they don’t know. Keep in mind that KPIs can be anything that the organization establishes as an indicator whether it be qualitative or quantitative.

So here we have 60% of organizations that are not defining any type of KPIs and out of the small percentage that are defining them (25%) only around half (48%) have any idea how they are doing. This…is a problem. According to our findings some managers are showing resistance to emergent collaboration because they are basically not sure of what the business value, is however these managers are not doing what is required and necessary to see business value to begin with, this is the “value paradox.”

If organizations don’t set up some kind of indicators to gauge their collaborative efforts then they are simply flying blind, in that scenario of course managers are not going to understand what the business value of collaboration is and who can blame them? Managers have nothing to look at to gauge anything. This is kind of like trying to lose weight without taking into account your food consumption and exercise habits, without understanding these things you will not see any progress whatsoever. To use another analogy, you wouldn’t board an airplane if the captain said, “we don’t have any of our gauges working so we really can’t tell where we’re flying, but don’t worry, we’ll be fine.” You would probably run away quite quickly.

So what can organizations do to overcome this value paradox? At the very minimum they need to develop a “strategic compass” for where emergent collaboration is going to take them, there needs be something guiding this. Here are some examples of “strategic compasses” at other organizations

  1. Penn State wants to improve communication at their company
  2. FSG wants to develop a collaborative infrastructure that would allow them to grow
  3. Intuit wants to improve ideation along with developing an effective system for managing and implementing those ideas
  4. Vistaprint wants to improve onboarding time for new employees as well as collaboration
  5. The Federal Government needs a way to sustain the influx of over 500,000 employees over the next ten years while being able to transfer the knowledge of those that are leaving
  6. The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation wants to get all of their employees and processes aligned, a challenge since they have a large base oversees in less developed countries (upcoming case study)
  7. Telus wants to improve employee engagement which they define as employees feeling connected to the company and being fulfilled and passionate about their work (upcoming case study)

All of these organizations have something they want to achieve, they have a reason for why they are heavily investing in emergent collaboration. They also have ways to measure their progress towards their goals. Penn State for example asked employees if communication has improved and employees agreed that their lives at work have been made easier, FSG is able to accomplish their objective of growth which was otherwise a difficult task, Intuit looked at how many new ideas were being submitted and then implemented by their employees, Vistaprint saw a dramatic reduction in the on-boarding time of new employees as well as great employee feedback on improved communication.

Sometimes the things used to measure or gauge success are numbers and sometimes they are unstructured pieces of feedback from employees who simply say, “yes, my job is now easier to get done.”

Your organization must develop and understand it’s “strategic compass” and it must check on the direction regularly to ensure that the organization is traveling in the right direction. If you haven’t read the report on the State of Enterprise 2.0 Collaboration, I encourage you to do so.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jacob Morgan
I'm a best-selling author, keynote speaker, and futurist who explores what the future of work is going to look like and how to create great experiences so that employees actually want to show up to work. I've written three best-selling books which are: The Employee Experience Advantage (2017), The Future of Work (2014), and The Collaborative Organization (2012).


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