“The floggings will continue until morale improves” is a famous pirate saying that could well be the motto of some old school knowledge managers who are trying to join the cool folks at the social media party. At least twice in as many weeks I’ve heard reports of misguided flogging within organizations in New York. In one instance an old school KM type suggested that the best way to help knowledge workers overcome their reluctance to shift to microblogs, blogs and wikis from e-mail was simply to force them out of e-mail. In another instance an old school KM type decided to encourage a knowledge worker to try an Enterprise 2.0 tool by hounding the poor person to death. In both cases, these knowledge managers were trapped in their command-and-control approach to life, not realizing that a successful Enterprise 2.0 deployment is by definition the antithesis of their modus operandi.
Paula Thornton suggests that the key to avoiding a pirate’s flogging approach is to use good design in your E2.0 deployment:
If you have to “drive adoption” you’ve failed at 2.0 design and implementation. The fundamentals of 2.0 are based on design that is organic — meets the individual where they are and adapts based on feedback — it emerges. The ‘adoption’ comes from rigorous ‘adaptation’ — it continuously morphs based on involvement from the ‘masses’. If done right, you can’t keep them away…because you’ve brought the scratch for their itch.
Her comments serve to highlight the fundamental difference between top-down old style KM and bottom-up emergent Enterprise 2.0. The pirates think they can make you participate, while those wiser about E2.0 understand that the right tool in the hands of the right group will be adopted with enthusiasm because it meets user needs.
In the world of Enterprise 2.0, flogging people into submission and participation is a sure sign that you’ve missed the whole point of the exercise. When that happens, it’s time for you to walk the plank.
[Photo Credit: Grant MacDonald]