Collaboration Solutions

2 Posts authored by: fbrych

Much has been written recently about the need to evolve the practice of organizational change management towards change readiness. Why? Given global, economic, societal and technical trends – among others, organizations are always in a state of change to remain competitive and grow. It is no longer good enough to help an organization successfully embrace the latest change, it is now more important to create a culture of change readiness and employee agility. Two recent articles on this subject that I recommend reading are:


In the July HBR Blog Communicating Change as Business as Usual, Chris Musselwhite and Tammie Plouffe describe change readiness as “dynamic and proactive - positioning change simply as business as usual.”  Through this approach you enable an organization to initiate and respond to change on an ongoing basis – making it a business initiative rather than a change initiative. Both what and how you communicate is a key component as part of this evolution.


Last week, Kayleigh O’Keefe posted an article on the CEC Insider describing Where Kotter’s 8 Steps Gets it Wrong to build an agile and adaptable organization.  She referred to three main areas where this change management process fails: change is not a one-time event, it doesn’t only come from CXOs, and employees should not be the objects of change. Instead, she promotes enabling employees to be the drivers of change to create a culture of evolution and continually adapting. She even recommends dropping the word “change”.

I personally still believe a change program should be in place as part of any major initiative where the nature of work is changing. However, I also strongly support the views of the authors above and believe change readiness is an essential cultural element for any organization to remain successful in this complex economy.


Whether it is change management or change readiness, open and effective communications in both the message and the medium provide a competitive advantage to enable organizations to successfully evolve. Based on my experience as a collaboration practitioner, our internal use of Cisco collaboration solutions has prepared us well.


Would love to read your thoughts?   ...f

The Collaboration Consortium, a community of practice focused on sharing insights and best practices on the topic of collaboration, released their 2011 report last week from the Adoption Working Group.  The report covers the common ideas, lessons learned, and recommendations about practices for successful adoption of collaboration/Web2.0/social initiatives.


There are four member examples shared as part of the report that cover a wide variety of topics: connecting people and communities (BG Group), accelerating product development (Cisco), enabling a mobile workforce (Statoil), and identifying expertise location (RAND). The examples all have a similar member objective: to drive employee productivity and efficiency within their organizations.  In general, the Group recommends the following best practices for adoption of collaboration/Web2.0/social initiatives, based on the collective experience and learnings of the Working Group members:


  1. Secure executive sponsorship early: When executive stakeholders are engaged early in a planned collaboration effort, it helps ensure the effort supports the top business priorities and drives adoption from the top down. Sponsorship also needs to come from both the business and IT.
  2. Recruit champions: Champions may take the form of early adopters, volunteer ambassadors, team influencers or vocal pilot participants. These users have a passion for change, and are role models to encourage others to adopt the capability and work differently. These individuals drive     adoption from the bottom up. They are willing to provide feedback and become the local "feet on the street" to help promote your effort.
  3. Keep it simple:  The less complexity of the user interface and the tighter integration with other business applications, the greater chance of adoption success - period! This also applies to the development of any virtual training material, quick start guides or other forms of training.
  4. Seek opportunities to enable business process: Business value and adoption from any Web 2.0 and collaboration effort will usually be higher when it supports an existing workflow or business process. Keeping it "in the flow" also helps to establish a baseline and track progress.
  5. Formalize community roles: Successful communities require active moderators who are assigned the role as part of their formal jobs. The moderators should be incented and rewarded based on the success of the community.
  6. Manage the cultural change: Change management is an important component of successfully implementing any collaboration effort. There are many approaches that can be leveraged and the specific methodology is not as important as selecting one, then implementing it as part of your collaboration initiative to achieve the desired end state.


More information about the 2011 Adoption Report and the Collaboration Consortium can be found here: Collaboration Consortium, 2011 Adoption Report


The publicly available member examples include BG Group (see attached file), Cisco (CaseStudyTransforming Product Development with Quad ) and Statoil (see attached file). 


Let us know what you think!   …f

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