The revolution starts within

Do you work in an organization that is slow to adapt? Do you feel constrained by inept IT and HR policies? Are there deep impenetrable departmental silos within a non-collaborative culture? Is innovation and change painfully slow? If you answered yes to any of these, what can you really do from the inside?

Cartoon by Hugh Macleod @gapingvoid

Euan Semple writes about this in The blindingly, bloody, obvious:

It occurred to me the other day while working with a client that one of the challenges of enticing their colleagues to join in with their social networks is how obvious the benefits are once you have experienced them are – but how obscure they are until you have. Sometimes disparagingly called “not getting it” this is one of the biggest problems to overcome. You can spend a fortune on technology but unless you find a way to help people to “get it”, to understand the benefits to them of getting their hands dirty and taking part, you might as well not have bothered.

Timing is everything. An idea that is too early for its time will often get killed, especially if it gets referred to a committee. If you are convinced that your future workplace should look more like a Wirearchy, (a dynamic two-way flow of power and authority based on, knowledge, trust, credibility, a focus on results; enabled by interconnected people and technology) then the best thing you can do now is prepare.

  • Prepare yourself to be a continuous learner.
  • Prepare yourself and your team/department to work collaboratively.
  • Start narrating your work.
  • Become a knowledge curator and share widely.
  • Engage in professional social networks and communities of practice.
  • Model the behaviours you would like to see in others.

Finally, watch for moments of need, when the organization has a problem or crisis and then be ready with the tools and skills to help. It’s like being your own upstart company, developing asymmetrical skills under the radar, inside your organization. If nothing else, you will be preparing yourself to work in a wirearchy, whether it is your current employer or a future one. The network era revolution starts within each of us. Start walking the talk.

3 Responses to “The revolution starts within”

  1. Rick Ladd

    LOL! Now you tell me. This is related to one of the terms we used a lot at Rocketdyne . . . “lead from where you are”. In other words, don’t wait for someone to tell you what to do and, for Pete’s sake, don’t wait to become officially recognized as a leader to provide actual leadership. I agree with every one of those bullet points. They are the things we worked on while evangelizing our attempt at being a Wirearchy (what we referred to as a Blue Pen company; cf. In2:InThinking Network). Alas, as you’ve noted often happens, we were too early for our time but, because we were working on a fat (and I do mean FAT) government contract, we never did get shut down; merely ignored by officialdom. Retirement saved me . . . kind of.

  2. Peter Condon

    “An idea that is too early for its time will often get killed” Have been there and done that and watched from the sidelines as it went forward without me after I was made redundant.
    Perhaps the better place to be is outside?

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