Is anyone missing on the E20 boat ?

By Bertrand Duperrin posted 08-07-2010 03:13


There's a consensus on the fact any enterprise 2.0 project has to involve people from many fields in the company : HR, innovation, legal, IT, communication, even line managers and C-level people. Is anyone missing on this already well crowded boat ?

I got part of the answer by a line manager with whom I was talking about making people shared services, a few years ago. If I remember well the discussion went this way :

- So if your staff need information to get things done, since information is owned by other employees, the latter has to be accessible and available to share it, answer questions, narrate their experience...

- I know. But people are here to do a defined job.

- Don't you think it's time to change your point of view about that. They are here to do a job but also to contribute to the success of the company. Performanc is not about having many people doing their job, it's about having the whole organization working efficiently. People are one link on a chain but what counts for the company is the whole chain : having strong links is ok but useless if some others are weak or even broken.

- I know all that. I'm not the one you need to convince. You should talk with the finance or accounting guys...

- Humm

- You know, I've allowed a budget. I spend it to hire and pay people...and then I have to account for it. If we consider "social" activities will take 10 or 20% of people's time I've to justify why my staff is actually only working 80% of the time. And if they participate in things with people from other business units, they'll use part of my budget to increase their performance while I won't be rewarded for that and, what's even worse, I'll have to explain why I don't make the most of my budget.

- See it as an investment....

- I know that's an investment. But when it comes to fill data sheets that's not possible to put it in the "investment" cell. We also have techniques to split any cost within several departments or units for resources we share...but it only works for machines. I'll change my mind the day I'll be able to but 20% of my budget in the "shared resources" or "investment" cell and be accountable for only 80%. It's only  about the way we turn reality into numbers and present them but as long as the way numbers have to be processed this way and not any other way...

I learned many things from this discussion :

- one of the hidden reason people may refuse change is because not of change but the consequence of change on indicators that are not supposed to be changed. In this case, indicators makes more sense than work and that's quite understandable.

- so, internal indicators have to be redesigned to fit the new expected way of doing things

- at a upper level, since many indicators have to comply with accounting rules that seem to be more taylored to help businesses to have the most flexible use of tangible goods than intangible ones, maybe a facelift is needed to urge businesses change the way we use them.

The fact is I seldom see finance people in such projets while they are those who can make line managers more comfortable with new ways of doing things by designing indicators that reflects what things have to be instead of what they used to be. What's even more worrying is that, a the state level, it seems to be a lack of awareness to adapt models and rules that are legacy of Taylor's world to the XXIth century.

I'm also curious to know how line managers at companies like Google are dealing with their famous "20%", if the fact that employees can use 20% of their time on personal projects than can be seen as investment changes anything on what managers are accountable for.

Anyway, I'd like to see more financial experts in the enterprise 2.0 discussion...sure they could facilitate change at their level.

#Finance #investment #enterprise2.0 #accounting #indicators