E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

When Command and Control Needs to Become Engage and Support

Gran Canaria - A Winter Day in GuayadequeEvery so often there are those times when you bump into a couple of articles published by people, who you know and respect dearly for the tremendous amount of great work they have done in the space of Social Computing, that give you such an adrenaline rush, while reading through them, that you just can’t stop thinking about anything else for a little while. And if those blog posts have got to do with two of my favourite topics from all along (People and Trust) in that context of the Social Enterprise, you know I will surely be sharing my two cents of the conversation.

So here I am; more than happy to point you to two essential, and worth while going through, blog entries that will surely make you think quite a bit on how important trust is for Enterprise 2.0 to succeed within the corporate firewall (And beyond, for that matter!); yes, I do realise that trust is one of those recurring terms / themes that perhaps may have been abused quite a bit, specially in the workplace context (Just as much as terms like Collaboration, Communities, or, even, Knowledge Management), but then again, when you see the word trust you know pretty well what you are referring to and could very well explain it in a sentence or two.

Well, my good friend Oscar Berg has just done that over at one of his recent blog posts titled "Control is waste & trust drives value creation", where he shares a couple of golden nuggets worth while remembering, when describing how crucial trust is for any personal business transaction amongst peers, customers or business partners:

"Trust is the fuel for any enterprise. Trust in your purpose, trust in your peers, trust in yourself.

Trust drives value creation.

Control is a sign of trust failure. Control does not add value. Control is waste. Control restricts value-creation. It is something management adds when they don’t trust their employees to perform as expected" [Emphasis mine]

I couldn’t have said that in much better words that those employed by Oscar; trust is the glue that makes collaborative work happen effectively across teams, communities and networks by helping knowledge workers excel at what they know best: constantly innovate. Every move, every conversation, every personal business interaction happening in an open environment where there are no restrictions, no limits, "no rules", just a bunch of knowledge workers wanting to make a difference for their customers and their business by sharing their knowledge across and collaborating efficiently.

The rest of his article is just as good and equally thought-provoking, so I would encourage you to go and read through it and find out his thoughts on how that lack of trust impacts tremendously the overall performance and productivity of those knowledge workers. Priceless!

Ok, now that you have read Oscar’s article, check out the absolutely delightful piece that my good friend, the always insightful, Euan Semple, has put together over at infoBOOM under the title "The Trojan Mice Approach to Enterprise 2.0", where he touches based on one of the recurring themes I have been mentioning on this blog for a long while already; and that is the critical role that people (Knowledge Workers) play in the successful adoption of Enterprise 2.0 within the corporate world, regardless of the tools / technologies and processes that may be available out there. To quote:

"You can build as fancy and expensive a system as you like but if people don’t want to use it and don’t feel comfortable using it then you might as well not have bothered. To get people to embark on this sort of culture change you have to gain their trust and they have to learn to trust each other. This is a process that has to happen incrementally and over time. Those charged with helping it to happen have to be sensitive to the powerful dynamics they are opening up and respectful of those they are expecting to engage" [Emphasis mine]

Once again, Euan nails it; it’s never been about the tools, nor the processes in place, but on the people themselves making good, and responsible, use of those tools as what they are, enablers, to help execute on each and everyone of those business processes they may be responsible for. It would be only then when things will really progress further in the right direction; that one of a very much needed change where those business needs will be finally matched up with the true, up until now hidden and ostracised,  talent, expertise, skills, know-how, experiences that knowledge workers have been accumulating over the course of time and which have been waiting all along inside that closet of command and control for far too long.

Euan, once more describes it much better than I could and, as usual, in his very suggestive and succinct way:

"The trick will be to move from “command and control” to "engage and support”. Building trust takes time. Becoming comfortable enough to be “social” takes time"

The remaining challenge though may well be whether businesses would be patient enough to wait for that more than worth it change to take place or whether, instead, they would prefer to do things the usual way: business as usual

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  1. Thanks for the really good advice, it´s definitely not about the tools though we often get overexcited about them.

    I´ve just discovered this blog and find it very useful for all of us working with social networks. I´m surprised I hadn´t heard of it before, it´s funny I had to hear from you through an Indian friend at the eSTAS Congress.

    1. Hi Leila, thanks a lot for the feedback comments and for dropping by! It’s greatly appreciated! Glad you found the article helpful, too! I have been blogging for nearly 5 years now over here and guess that at some point in time it had to come out there for Spanish readers, since most of the times I blog in English; perhaps a good chance for me to consider writing in Spanish as well… We shall see …

      Oh, by the way, small world this one, eh? When folks in India refer you to this blog 😀

        1. Hi Leila, thanks for the follow up! Yeah, I know Gaurav from many years of interacting online, both on blogs and twitter as well. Small world, indeed! 😀

          Actually, the main theme of this blog is to write in English, as that’s where most of my audience comes from: English speaking countries; however, every so often I get to write something in Spanish as a way not to forget about it, so you may see a few of them coming up!

          Really interesting blog that one you have put together! I shall continue reading further up some of the great writing you have been putting together. Good stuff! 🙂

  2. By the way, I´ve heard you have some recommendations on how to live and work without email. Could you please recommend me some readings? I´m really interested. Thanks!

    1. I found it, “A world without email”. I just haven´t had the time to go through the alternatives to the use of email but the experiment sounds interesting.

      1. Hi Leila! Yes, indeed, that’s a good starting point; I have done a few videos on the topic which you could also find off that tag as well as plenty more insights on the topic; I must say that it used to be a little bit of an experiment. Now, over two years later, it’s my day to day reality, of continuing to use social software tools, instead of email in order to share knowledge across and collaborate with other folks and so far it’s working all right 🙂

        Happy reading! 🙂

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