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

From the blog

Overcoming Resistance to Change – Isn’t It Obvious?

Gran Canaria - Pozo de las Nieves & Surroundings in the SpringWell, may be. But then again, may be not! I am sure that one of the main inhibitors that social computing evangelists out there would currently face within their own organisations would be pretty much such resistance to change from various other knowledge workers; resistance to leave their own comfort zone; to change their already well established, perhaps a bit obsolete, work habits; to shake up their already existing powerful networks (Although perhaps much smaller altogether…); to downgrade their well established reputation and subject matter expertise on whatever the topic; to change their already high performing productivity skills. In short, resistance to change anything. But for how long? How much longer before we all realise that change is inevitable, after all?

Yes, that’s right! As Nick Donofrio himself would say, change *is* inevitable, so the sooner we adapt, adjust and take appropriate steps to look after the best of not only our very own interests, but those of our customers and business partners, the better. For all of us! Don’t you think so?

However, that’s easier said than done, I am sure! Change is always a hard job to carry out successfully, specially within a working environment where everything seems to work just fine. Changing people’s work habits and their own comfort zone seem to be amongst the biggest challenges altogether! Well, may be. Then again, may be not. It all depends on how you try to face, and pace out, that change, mainly for those around you.

That’s why when talking about Enterprise 2.0, or Social Computing within the enterprise, whatever term you would want to make use of, I keep stressing out that this movement hasn’t got anything to do with technologies, nor processes, but, mainly, with people! That’s right! Once again, it’s all about the people! That’s why, when working your way through such dramatic changes within your business, Change Management is *so* crucial. Yet, it keeps getting ignored, consistently, by almost everyone. Most probably, because it is much easier to focus on tools and processes than in changing people’s already deeply rooted behaviours at work. Still, whether we like it or not, that’s where our main challenge lies ahead for us all.

This is actually one of the reasons why I’m seriously looking forward to future editions of the Enterprise 2.0 conference, because during this year’s event in Boston I could sense already how plenty of attendees are starting to shift away from that tools and processes based focus into the one we should all be spending most of our energy and efforts on: change management, which is tightly associated with HR. Yes, our good old HR. That, folks, is where the final frontier for a successful adoption of social software within the enterprise will be occurring … and very soon, too!

Thus, to such extent I thought you would enjoy watching through the following YouTube video clip that I bumped into earlier on (In Twitter, of course!) and which I think would make plenty of people think twice about how they can not only get things started, but move along at a lovely pace, too, with the rest of the employee workforce!

I am sure you will notice the subtle touch of humour behind LearningTOC‘s "Overcoming Resistance to Change – Isn’t It Obvious?"; it’s a short video clip of a bit over 6 minutes that clearly explains how Theory of Constraints can help in clearing up the mud that provoking those kinds of changes within the workplace can well invoke. I’m not going to talk much more about it; I think it will be rather self-explanatory as you move along playing the video itself. So, without much further ado, here you have got the embedded version of the clip, so you can start playing it right away…

Then, now that you have watched through it, I guess some time soon I’ll need to put together another follow-up blog post where I can share with you folks my two cents on what IBM’s own vision would be like to provoke such unprecedented change about how we work (And understand work) with a rather thought-provoking, revolutionary, engaging, mind-boggling, committed and participatory new initiative that just got started a few months ago and that is certainly starting to pick more and more steam as of late…

Welcome to the Workplace of the Future!

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  1. Agree with you, Luis, change management is probably the most important aspect. I guess all would agree the social computing tools are as good as their adoption. On the other hand, the new way of looking at work is much more fundamental in terms of the change, and its interesting this understanding is coming now, because this means that the tools have now been understood by organizations.

    1. Hi Atul, thanks for the wonderful commentary! I surely agree with you that this is all starting to become more about shaping behaviours, inspire a new culture of doing business (One of openly sharing your knowledge, of bringing up clarity and visibility, etc. etc.) and eventually change the way we do work, wherever we may well be, with whoever.

      That’s why to me it’s never been about the tools, nor processes, but more about improving and augmenting the already existing working experiences of knowledge workers, helping them increase their own productivity levels, so they can focus and work harder on the more difficult problems to solve. That’s, to me, where social tools kick in, for sure. And why they have a lovely place awaiting for them in every single corporate business…

      Thanks again for the feedback!

  2. Hey, Luis. Long time, no speak – heh. I agree change management is not only important, but absolutely necessary to moving any kind of meaningful adoption in an enterprise. I would also add that risk management is an important component and, in fact, the two of them go hand-in-hand. Managing any kind of meaningful change requires managing the risk inherent in “upsetting the apple cart”. Would you agree?

    I also agree it’s (essentially) all about the people. However, I like to say as well, “It’s not about the tools, but it’s about the tools.” By that, I mean nothing of what we contemplate would be possible without the existence of at least a certain class of tools, most notably computers, intranets, etc. By themselves, they are useless and, in that sense, it is surely not about them. However, without them we wouldn’t be able to effect the widespread kinds of changes we are hoping to see in our organizations. They are enablers of change, but they are not determinaters of change. As an example, it is quite possible for one organization to outperform another despite the other having vastly superior tools. My favorite analogy for this is a piano. An accomplished pianist can play beautifully on a $200 upright, while someone with no talent couldn’t successfully render the simplest of melodies on a Steinway or other fine piano. Yet even the pianist couldn’t replicate the sound without an actual piano (the requisite tool).

    Can’t wait to read your next two cents re IBM.

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