You are not the only bee in the hive

Joachim Stroh adds some perspective to my post on tools and competencies for the social enterprise: “It’s about you, but you’re not the only bee in the hive; the further you expand the more you grow.”

honeycomb stroh

I think this image gives a good view of the various facets people have in the workplace: My Content, My Presence, My Networks, My Tasks, My Reputation, My Goals. It also shows that workers are not mere human resources that fill job positions. They are all multi-faceted and each of these facets touches the facets of others. It is social and it is complex.

In the digitally connected workplace, systemic changes are sensed almost immediately. Therefore reaction times and feedback loops have to get faster and be more effective. We need to know who to ask for advice right now, and this requires a level of trust. But trusted relationships take time to nurture. This is evident from Joachim’s image, showing many facets that each take time to develop. Since our default action at work is usually to turn to our friends and known colleagues for help, we need to share more of our experiences with others in order to grow our trusted networks. The more colleagues we can depend upon, the better we can get work done. The time to start is now.

“We learned that individual expertise did not distinguish people as high performers. What distinguished high performers were larger and more diversified personal networks.” – Rob Cross, The Hidden Power of Social Networks

Social learning is critical for organizational effectiveness today. Workers need to connect with others in order to co-solve problems. Sharing tacit knowledge through conversations is an essential component of knowledge work. Social media enable adaptation, and the development of emergent practices, through conversations. Ensuring our facets are interconnected is one way to become a more social business. For example:

  • Am I creating content that can easily be curated and shared?
  • Am I connecting my physical and virtual presences optimally?
  • Am I finding learning opportunities through my networks?

I create these tools and presentations in order to ask better questions while trying to solve client problems. If these provide some new insight, then they are useful. I am glad that others, like Joachim, share what they are doing so we can work on these together, without ever meeting (yet).

2 Responses to “You are not the only bee in the hive”

  1. Vaughan Merlyn

    Great post, thank you! I love the beehive image and content. It serves to illustrate and clarify so much more than social business – after all, it is the power of social learning that is shaping many countries and their government systems today.

  2. Ara Ohanian

    Harold, I like your point that workers are no…. that fill job positions. We are not individual worker bees each in his own cell. Connections between us are crucial and, as you point out, in the digitally-connected workplace they become more important than ever.


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