The connected enterprise adoption curve

[First …] Here’s the final word on social business from me: informal social relationships have always been linked to effective performance.

[So …] Now here we are with all that we know, or should know, about the importance of informal relationships, creating high performance work environments and learning cultures.

[But …] Mental models, behaviours and formal systems remain stubbornly resistant to change.

Anne Marie McEwan

Socbiz fullcircleYou have the enterprise social technology and you may have even developed training programs, in conjunction with supporting collaboration aligned with the workflow. But it’s those pesky “mental models, behaviours and formal systems” that still stand in your way of becoming an open, connected enterprise.

Very few organizations are truly open. The same ones keep getting cited: W.L. Gore, Automattic, Zappos, Semco SA. These are the innovators. There are others who are moving to a more cooperative work environment, where outside and inside are allowed to mix, without undo control. These are the early adopters. The majority of companies are still satisfied with improving internal collaboration and getting the job done, blind to the faster moving competition building up outside. Finally, the laggards are merely coordinating work, according to some timetable, oblivious to the end of the industrial era.

the connected enterpriseIf “informal social relationships have always been linked to effective performance” then open organizations are really a business necessity. Helping move organizations to the left is my work.

3 Responses to “The connected enterprise adoption curve”

  1. Tim Kastelle

    The issue of examples is a really interesting one. In my recent post I cited three of the ones that you listed, plus two that you didn’t. Part of the problem is that it’s hard to concisely discuss firms that no one has heard of at all. I know a meat processing plant that has flattened from 5 levels of hierarchy to 3, with outstanding results. But they’re a hard case to cite both for confidentiality issues and because it would take lots of extra words to explain the context & results. It’s a digression from your main point, but an interesting issue.

    As for the main point, I’m working on a post that builds upon it, that will probably go up over the weekend.

  2. Jon Husband

    I’ve long believed that a core issue in the ongoing dialogue / debate re: hierarchy versus networks should re-orient away from “versus” towards “and”. What is problematic in organizations often is ‘traditional’ position-based hierarchy and all of the learned protocols, practices and psychologies attached thereto. I think hierarchy can be quite useful when chosen and used in a practical and situational manner. I believe networks are causing / will cause an evolution towards enlightened, intelligent, situational and temporary hierarchies, which when combined with increased presence and use of democratic principles as the foundation for an organization’s culture, can result in an engaged, disciplined and responsive workforce which is capable of much autonomy and self-management at the work-group level.

  3. Jon Husband

    But/and less of traditional hierarchy is generally helpful, I think. 3 – 5 levels depending upon size of organization, enabled by a significant and rigorous distributed delegation-of-authority for many decisions and accompanied by tangible accountability.


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)