In the Enterprise 2.0, maybe "2.0" is what matters the less

By Bertrand Duperrin posted 08-21-2010 03:37


How can we recognize an enterprise 2.0 and say "they did it, they're an example to follow" ?

Of course, when most of the employees use social media to communicate, collaborate and self organize as naturally as they've been using phone or email in the past, without questioning whether to use it or not.

Are we sure ? From a technical standpoint that's true but, from a corporate one, that only means that...people are using tool. This is necessary but not sufficient to say the company is working better.

When employees are very autonomous, can make decisions on their own, self organize, have the right to fail so they can try and experiment ? When managers' rule is not to make a decision until their staff want one to be made and agree on what has to be decided ? When a young employee is allowed to suggest that the intranet has to be remotely accessible and is allowed by the board to put his idea at work ? When any process is open to challenge ?

Of course. But we all know that such organization need the above mentioned tool to work this way.

I found John Brunswick's former post very sensible. We should not focus on making people use the tools but on working better with the tools. That also relies on the assumption that tools are necessary to work better. But that's not that obvious.

As far as I can remember, the first company that really puzzled me was Semco. And it was years before social media became maintream, before the rise of web 2.0... This past week, I took some time to read The Seven-Day Weekend: Changing the Way Work Works again, a book by Semco's CEO, Ricardo Semler. This is a very challenging reading for anyone who thinks you can't run a large company without control or organization chart and an inspiring reading for those that, like many of us, think there are other ways to build efficient organizations but have seldom seen it at work.

What I mean is that when we focus on tools we quickly come to the conclusion that a new organizational model is needed, that can't come without of new philosophy of work. On the other hand, when we read Semler we can't say anything else than 'Hey ! They've been 2.0 since the 90s"....and forget there is no mention of any tool in Semler's story. Maybe they're not using social media at all...because their culture makes it useless. Maybe they use social media but don't even mention it because either they think culture and management is what matters and the rest comes with it, or that it's so natural to use it in such a company that questioning social media's relevancy is a waste of time.

In fact I'm very excited by this kind of organizations that are 2.0 with no tools and I think we all have to learn a lot from them. It may even be the only way to make both skeptics and zealots understand the actual nature of what organizations will have to achieve in the next years, that it really works, and that the focus is obviously not the one we used to have.

#Semco #enterprise2.0 #RicardoSemler #culture #philosophy #Management