Thinking about how people work in today’s enterprise reminds me of the movie Being John Malkovich. You know what I’m talking about – it’s like the low-ceiling offices on floor 7½ of the Mertin Flemmer building in New York City. The ceiling is all of 4 1/2 feet high, and they have to emergency-stop the elevator to get to the floor. It was used by companies that wanted to cut corners; “low overhead, my boy – we pass the savings on to you!”
Enterprise 2.0 is analogous to pushing aside the filing cabinet and stepping into the mind of the corporation. Suddenly we’re in a surreal place where you can actually be an important person. Enterprise 2.0 is for people who liked to be challenged and create new ideas. If you’re the type that simply likes to be force fed information, you’ll probably hate the change. You have to be willing to try something different.
As discussed in Part 1, your Return on Influence (ROI) will be largely controlled by how much value you bring to the enterprise. Today, most people wait for their boss to to give them permission or responsibility or experiences that shape their corporate career.
A few people, but not many, decide to shape their own career. They push for initiatives, find important things to work on, and proactively try to make things better. They create new projects and constantly challenge the status quo. For them, Enterprise 2.0 is perfectly tailored to their success.
Conversely, let’s face it, there always seem to be a few schmucks in the workplace. These people are the do nothing – know nothings. In fact, if they were a stock they’d be traded on the pink sheets. But for whatever reason they seem to skate by without being discovered. Instead the corporation hangs onto them far too long while they subtract value from the company.
In the Enterprise 2.0 paradigm, how long do you think this person would last if everyone saw their deficiencies?
One could argue favorably that this type of transparency would motivate John M. to work harder. After all, people respect what you inspect (or something like that). Meanwhile, Aaron F. could leverage his reputation as a high performer to create a new initiative that he’s been dreaming up. As likely, I’d venture that managers that want high performers would seek Aaron out to be on their projects.
One of the main goals of Enterprise 2.0 is to harness the best of the individual employee while monitoring the health of the enterprise. Technology is one element but only a small fraction of the success equation. People matter most, but people need an ecosystem that brings out the best in them. Get them involved, recognize and reward them for their contributions and reap the results.
Moving forward, it’s less about office politics and departmental silos. It’s about creating an environment to make all of your employees remarkable.
(Cross-posted @ Seek Omega)