Collaboration Readiness #e2conf

Sara Roberts (Roberts Golden Consulting) moderates this session involving Lisa Bonner (AVP, Contemporary Work Practices, The Hartford Insurance Company), Erin Grotts (Director of Internal Communications and Collaboration, SUPERVALU) and Dan Pontefract (Head of Learning & Collaboration, Telus).

[These are my notes from the Enterprise 2.0 Conference 2012 in Boston. Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]


  • Start with Your Culture in Mind. Dan Pontefract believes that without culture, there’s no engagement, no collaboration or a shared single vision (panoptic view). “If we want to build a culture of collaboration, we do not want to implement a collaboration of cultures.” By contrast, Erin Grotts thinks that culture is a little overused. Rather than trying to manage the culture, she decided to build a place that amplified the things that people in the organization already liked about their corporate culture.
  • Treat Engagement as the GoalDon’t waste time on “busyness” metrics. It doesn’t matter how many times someone blogs. What matters is how engaged that person actually is. Telus uses surveys and benchmarks against Aon Hewitt data.
  • You Need a New Leadership Philosophy. Telus dumped the old competency models in favor of a new framework that promotes open, connected and transparent leadership. If you want collaboration to occur, you can’t just dump the toolset on your people. You need to create a leadership framework that supports the desired cultural change. To be successful, you need to straight talk, honesty.
  • The Organization has to put it’s money where it’s mouth is. If you want openness and transparency, you can’t censor. “If you muzzle, you risk irreparable damage.” Focus on the desired behavior, not the tools. In the experience of Telus, you can change the tools without disrupting collaboration provided the right behavior has been established and supported.
  • What Incentives Work? Don’t lead with money. Recognition that improves the “social street cred” of the individual will provide greater incentive. The talent war has already started. Hanging onto key people is critical. The Hartford is internally competitive. They posted a leader board and awarded badges for updates on customer calls. Interestingly, the pilot group participating in this badge program outperformed the sales personnel outside the pilot group. Gamification is a 21st century way of leading and thinking. You will stay longer and work harder when tackling a challenge in a group. SUPERVALU doesn’t use gamification. Rather, the CEO is active in Enterprise 2.0 and publicly recognizes the people who exhibit collaborative behaviors.
  • Leading Through ChangeTrust and respect are earned. Leaders need to understand that. They can earn trust and respect by doing what they say, delivering on their promises.
  • Embrace Lack of Control.Change management tactics are often another way of trying to maintain control of the organization. With Enterprise 2.0 deployments, tight control can choke the life out of collaboration. This will be a tough message for corporate leadership, so you’ll need to educate company leaders.
  • Legal Challenges.The Hartford is an SEC-regulated company. Therefore, they needed to involve the legal department early especially with respect to privacy and confidentiality concerns. However, Lisa Bonner believes that 100% of their employees are adults and 99% do not want to be fired. Their guiding principles are be professional and responsible. Don’t post anything online that you don’t want your mother or boss to read. This seems to be working fine for The Hartford.
  • What Analytics Do They Use? SUPERVALU maps internal social networking of an individual with that individual’s performance. Soon they will be able to do “mood analysis” of blogs. They also use employee surveys. At Telus they survey both employees and clients to determine performance. The key question to clients: would you recommend Telus?

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