Enterprise 2.0 – Organizational & People Readiness

Enterprise 2.0 promises to offer wonderful new ways to connect and collaborate inside and outside the enterprise. However, to realize the true benefits of a Wiki Workplace we need to  factor in organizational [ primarily to do with "support structures" to foster collaboration, senior management involvement etc.,] and people readiness. Here is my attempt at defining a people/organizational readiness framework for Enterprise 2.0.

There are four levels in the People/Organizational readiness stack.

  • Dysfunctional
  • Resistant
  • Threshold
  • Organic

Typically, organizations would fall into one of these quadrants.

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Dysfunctional

At this level there is low people and organizational readiness for enterprise wide adoption of Enterprise 2.0  technologies. Employee engagement at work is usually low. There are no incentive schemes in place to encourage collaboration.These enterprises also have a history of series of change management mishaps in spite of making a sincere attempt to drive change.

There are a number of organizational barriers to communication including managers who are not willing to let go of command & control, lack of commitment from the senior management, ill-defined or undefined virtual team structures, roles and responsibilities. There is a serious lack of alignment of enterprise vision,mission and values with individual/team objectives. The political climate and power structure in the organization are not conducive for effective decision making to happen.

Resistant

There is high organizational readiness but low people readiness. Typical causes include a disengaged workforce that is unwilling to learn, managers who are not willing to let go of command & control and turf war. There is poor alignment of enterprise vision,mission and values with individual/team objectives. In some there may be high attrition rates.

There may be innovative HR policies and systems in place with little or no impact on driving change. There are well defined virtual team structures,roles and responsibilities. Leadership building at multiple levels to foster a collaborative culture happens though the impact is low. The political climate and power structure in the organization are conducive for effective decision making to happen. Historically, these enterprises would have faced significant change related challenges – typically signaled by an increasing change management budget with low returns.

Threshold

There is low organizational readiness but high people readiness. I believe that a workforce that is at the threshold would be more open to change as compared to that in the Resistant phase . Organizations at this level can expect significant adoption and use of virtual collaboration tools provided they address organizational barriers. For instance, managers across business units may be willing to collaborate,but existing compensation/bonus schemes may encourage knowledge hoarding and hence inhibit collaboration. The political climate in the organization may not conducive for effective decision making to happen.There is no conscious effort to train managers on new ways of leadership that reflect new ways of working.

Work gets done by employees through informal networks. Individuals/Groups use existing collaborative tools in innovative ways and there is major proportion of the workforce that is using existing tools . Employees are engaged at work and there is significant alignment of enterprise mission,vision and values with individual & team objectives. However, there are no or very minimal HR policies/systems in place that encourage collaboration at work.  Community leaders tend to emerge from the fringes and play a key role in sustaining communities through sheer determination.There are a number of communities of practice that are purely bottom-up with no organizational support. Hence, they have very little enterprise wide impact in most cases. In some cases organizations tend to intervene and “manage” communities leading to their demise.Historically,change management efforts in other enterprise wide initiatives would have achieved desired results.[Eg.New Technology/Process Adoption,New Behavioral competencies,New Leadership styles etc.,].

Organic

At this level there is both organizational and people readiness for change. Enterprises can absorb substantial amounts of change with minimal effort from formal entities. There is very strong alignment of enterprise mission,vision and values with individual & team objectives indicating that the organization has succeeded in disseminating its vision, mission and values at all levels. Employee engagement at work is usually high and there are innovative work practices that foster a collaborative work culture.

Incentive schemes at this level of maturity would be at the "golden mean". Typically, these schemes rely on peer recognition and self-satisfaction. This is augmented with more tangible incentives that are neither too less nor too much. Too much of reliance on tangible incentives would mean people may steal knowledge and credit. Too less of it may dampen the inherent willingness of people to collaborate.There are well defined virtual team structures, roles and responsibilities.Enterprises at this level encourage transparent and open discussion of issues of interest to employees. The political climate in the organization is conducive for effective decision making to happen. Leadership building and training happens at all levels to embrace new ways of working.

Enterprises at this level have enterprise wide communities of practice that seamlessly augment formal teams. Informal Communities are recognized by the enterprise and there are support structures for these as well. Organic enterprises realize that “managing” change top-down has its limitations. They have a deep understanding of the social dimensions of collaboration. Communities Of Practice become a typical way to drive change bottom-up. I believe that in the long run with the right organizational structures and incentives in place – Change should manage itself.

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