Yesterday Rod Boothby, over at Innovation Creators, created a somewhat controversial and very interesting weblog post around the subject of Enterprise blogs cost $50K – so why aren’t there more? where he is debating how little money ($50k a year for set up and another $50k for running it) it actually takes to put together an enterprise weblogging system and yet not many enterprises, and other smaller businesses, have decided to jump into putting together such enterprise platform for their knowledge workers so that they can share their knowledge and collaborate with others. Rob mentions how perhaps one of the key issues towards this further adoption of social software and Web 2.0 related tools may be more down to an issue with “politics of control“, specially from mid level managers, as he puts it, than with money overall.
I must say that while going through the weblog post I was nodding my head over and over again in full agreement with Rod as I feel he is just so spot on ! I mean, most knowledge workers recognise the value of weblogs as powerful (Personal) Knowledge Management tools to help people go out there, share what they know with others, collaborate with them, and therefore, innovate further. Yet, not many of them are diving into them and get to use them. Yes, it may all be down to that “politics of control” but what happens if it isn’t. What happens if you have got large businesses out there whose complete management teams are in full agreement, backing up and supporting knowledge workers to create their own weblogs and yet that is still not happening at a faster pace than whatever you may have expected? Well, I think that in those cases the issues are down to the knowledge workers themselves.
Yes, indeed, I feel that it is actually the knowledge workers themselves who are controlling themselves not to start a weblog in most cases providing all sorts of lame excuses: No time to weblog, nothing to talk about, not enough motivation, cannot be bothered, management not supporting my weblogging efforts, why would I do it?, and the list goes on and on and on. When, in my point of view I think that it all comes down to one particular thought I have been wondering about in my head for quite some time now:
“People are scared s***less to write down something through weblogs that they may be accountable for at some point, (because otherwise why wouldn’t they blog?)”
I do realise that is perhaps a bit too harsh of a comment but think about it. Knowledge workers are given the opportunity and encouraged to get out there and weblog, and yet it is not happening. The way I see it is that it is the same knowledge workers the ones are actually putting together those “politics of control” because they are the ones who are actually going to lose that control and comfort zone they have been enjoying all along. Think about it. Weblogging requires that you have got an open mind to things, that you engage in multiple conversations, that you get to learn from others, that you get to share what you know with others, that you are just part of the conversation and as such you are the one who is losing that control, losing that comfort zone where you are the one and only who masters whatever knowledge area and therefore it makes you feel like you are indispensable, when it is actually the other way around.
People who are not ready, nor willing, to let that control go, to become part of the conversation, to learn much more at a higher pace, to share what they know with others and to keep innovating are perhaps knowledge workers that at some point in time would be in trouble, if not already. It is no longer a time where they and their individual knowledge is recognised like it used to be. Now it seems to be that with all this social software hype we are entering the world where being part of a community is what matters. A community where you could share with others you passion and your expertise. An area where there are no comfort zones any longer. A space where everyone is always on the same position to move forward and where knowledge shared can only take you so much further than ever before. And not the other way around.
So unless knowledge workers start letting go that fear to share knowledge, to collaborate in an environment, weblogs, amongst others, where they are no longer in control social software will never be successful within the enterprise. Thankfully a good chunk of people are already understanding this and it is perhaps their early adopter efforts the ones that would make things change drastically over the next few months, but one thing for sure is that all this would only be a successful and gradual change for enterprises if knowledge workers would want to help in the transformation from a labour-based company to a knowledge-based company, because that is what weblogs are all about: sharing your knowledge and passion(s) with everyone else.
A big question remains behind for all of us to answer: Are you ready to let control go and leave your comfort zone? Are you ready for Enterprise 2.0?