Anecdote sees Communities of Practice as the right brain of a company. Interesting metaphor.
March 2006 Archives
I have never been really satisfied with various studies and white papers on collaboration tools because I believe that the tools you use to collaborate depend on the level of trust you have established between the parties involved. There is no point in blogging if you don't want to engage into conversations, and it's no use introducing instant messenging in an organization where nobody trusts each other. So I tried to summarize this is a little diagram which I have found to be helpful in my communication. Tell me your thoughts!
Just had a conversation on corporate blogging with Eric Juin, my counterpart at Bouygues Construction. He told me about one of their senior execs who started a forum (a.k.a. blog) about three years ago. Every week from Monday to Thursday he collects comments and questions from any employee. On Friday his assistant hands him the most tricky ones and he fires some of those to the experts he knows, asking for immediate answer. On Sunday morning he answers all questions one by one from home in a personalized manner.
As a result of such delicate manners, the number of questions per week has risen steadily over time. What strikes me is that originally, questions and comments from employees were anonymous and mainly about requests for clarification on the company strategy. But after three years, employees now write in their own name, and sometimes ask nasty questions or complain about management behaviors. And he always responds. This shows the level of trust he has established with employees just through conversations.
What this executive is actually doing is developing trust and empowerment in his company. Now one of two things can happen. Either through this practice, he has made too many enemies among his peers and will eventually be stabbed in the back, or his capital of trust becomes so high that he gets promoted. And that would mean acknowledging the birth of some basic form of democracy in the corporate arena.