Monday, June 27, 2011

Two Types of People

This post has been in draft for a long time... I was on the verge of posting it several times, but held back. I wondered if I should post it. Is it too negative, too open? Well, now I'm posting it anyway. As always your honest comments are welcomed.

In my work and private life I basically run into two kinds of people:

  • People that get things done and people that don't.
  • People that do what they promised and people that don't.
  • People that answer emails and people that don't.
  • People that finish their tasks on time and people that don't.
  • People that are on time and people that aren't.
  • People that forget appointments and people that don't.
  • People that .... I think you get the point.

I honestly believe I belong to the first group. I'm not saying that I don't mess up, forget, procrastinate, etc. every now and then. But when I do I say sorry. It's not a normal thing, things should be different.
Furthermore I'm not saying I don't like 'the other type of people'. They're part of life and I just have to deal with them and organize my work to meet that reality.
On the other hand, things can be different. In my case, reading and living by 'Getting things done' helped me move from one group of people to the other. I think... If I'm mistaken, please correct me.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Insights from Social Media Workshops

I enjoy  leading workshops. Sharing my knowledge and experiences with others and learning from participant's knowledge and experience is truly inspiring.
I wanted to share some of my insights from the social media workshops I've been giving. The workshop focuses on social media as a hype or trend, social media strategy, social media concepts and tools, etc.

We're just getting started
One of the things that really strikes me is that we are only just starting to understand social media and experiment with it in practice insides companies and on the internet. I know there are examples of companies being successful in this space. But more than 90% of the people I get in my workshop haven't experimented with social media personally and in a corporate context, are often afraid to dip their toe into social media, find it hard to define next steps, etc.

Concepts and Tools
I usually start my workshop by talking about underlying concepts of social media. Understanding the concepts  is crucial to social media succes, in my experience. But most of the time I see people thinking: OK, great, let's get over to the tools please. I understand this and it's OK. Talking about specific thinks, like tools is just easier than talking about conceptual, even philosophical stuff. But this also tells me we have a way to go in social media. I have to constantly tell myself I belong to a group of people that is not the large majority.
Relating to tools, blogging is not too popular. And nobody knows social bookmarking. Microblogging and social networking are most popular.

Cases
The participants love social media cases. Talking about (the details of) cases could easily captivate a group all day long. And the cases don't have to end with: And they earned a lot of money with this campaign.

Strategy
Listening as the key to social media strategy is a huge eye-opener for most people. Most think you start with a goal and carry on from there. No, in this networked, complex world we start with listening. Deeply trying to understand what markets, customers and peers are saying.
Translating the strategy to practice is hard for most participants. Just doing social media is not common. Most wait and see and/or need help to take their first steps.

Sharing experiences
Sharing experiences is appreciated greatly. This doesn't only go for workshops about social media, I'd say. But I do think sharing in my social media workshop is valued also because social media touches very human spots. Like: how open are you about your deepest questions? Is it OK to say you don't know something? How open must you (or do you dare to) be in social media? Etc. Addressing these questions is important. It helps you move into social media and be more productive there.

To be clear, I'm not saying the above is weird. It's reality, it's the world we/I live in. And I just wanted to share that with you. Maybe you (don't) recognize my points. Please leave a comment to continue the conversation.
This is what I run into and deal with. And I love it. Have a great weekend!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Is an Organization a Hierarchy and/or a Network?

Back to work after a wonderful vacation in the US! Really enjoyed being there. My sister lives there. We went to the Gulf of Mexico with them and stayed there for a week. And we also travelled to Washington D.C. Went to the Museums in D.C. (we had already 'done' the monuments in a previous trip), went hiking in Shenadoah National Park, etc.
Now back to work. Worked through my email, feeds and tweets. One post I saved to read was this interesting post by prof. John Kotter, Hierarchy and Network: Two Structures, One Organization. A must-read for all social media and social business people! Lots of discussion there. I also commented on the post. I wrote:
Wow, lots of discussion here. I liked the post as well. I blogged about this topic a couple of times. I agree with some of the comments made stating the hierarchy and business is older than the 19th century. I do think you can say the 19th century made hierarchy the way to go. I think this is one of the reasons social media is so popular. All of a sudden we are seeing the importance of networks. But as some commenters wrote: a network does not exclude a hierarchy. How do businesses start: usually as a network, a community. After growing some usually hierarchy is made explicit. But the hierarchy usually was there from the start if you analyse the network. Arie de Geus addresses this deeply in his book 'The Living Company'.
So, I think all companies have hierarchy and networks. The problem is most companies only focus on and support the hierarchy. The network is hardly supported. Just look at the amount of money that is put into tools support business process automation... I find this one of the reason why internal use of social media is so interesting. Not to say business process automation is useless. But to say that's good, but we must also support the networks to improve business processes (and vice versa).
What I meant with my blog posts relating to this topic are these two posts, for instance. Also relate to Dave Gray's post 'The Future is Podular'. Fits perfectly next to Kotter's post. Interesting post by Kotter, don't you think?!