There Can Be No Resilience Without Transformation

12 thoughts on “There Can Be No Resilience Without Transformation”

  1. I don’t mean to be flippant but “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down” just jumped into my head “Helping your kids to learn about the world we live in.” And giving us a metaphor for resilience, perhaps?

    Organisations change at snail’s pace, even when faced with extinction. We know that from looking back at manufacturing companies making the transition from traditional to customer-focused, knowledge-based and agile ways of working. But this time it is different, I argued in the book I recently had published (academic and expensive).

    A key thread thoughout the book is the principle of ‘reciprocal determination’- people are not prisoners of their work environments, rather than being automatons they can take responsibility to change their experience of work. They can do this outside of their organisations and connect to others like themselves through social tools, learning together and giving each other courage and support.

    I invited a small group of family and friends to an informal gathering to discuss the book. As well as social advocates like myself, there were people who work in hospitals, universities, and a big global engineering company.

    I had already been struggling with the gap between social business idealism and the reality of work for many. This event confirmed it. The nurses work 12 hour, non-stop shifts. They do not have time to draw breath let alone play. And they sleep on their days off. One of my friends at the university said that online is the last place she wants to be after 10 hours in meetings and looking at spreadsheets. The engineer was just baffled – what on earth was I talking about.

    Something else has popped into into my head, Bruce Hornsby ‘s 80s song, That’s Just The Way It Is. Or is it? I still think that despite the pressures people experience at work, or maybe because of it, they / we do not have to accept being automatons. As Neil Usher, @workessence, asks: When did we become so helpless? He concludes that: Cassius might today reflect that “the fault dear Brutus lies not in our organisation but in ourselves”.

    There are people who are taking responsibility for their own experience of work. One of the nurses at the event transformed the performance culture on the ward she is responsible for. It can be done. So I am still in – for the moment.

    Thank you Luis for another cracking post from the front-line of organisational change. As they say here in France, Bon courage!

  2. Sometimes the new stuff works, sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes we have to make compromises. I’ve gotten much more selective about how “social” I am these days and devote a lot of energy to reaching out to and engaging with those people I want — and in some cases — need to interact with. It sounds like you have found that it’s sometimes difficult to distinguish between “social media as tool” and “social media as way of life.” In my case I’ve come to realize also that the people you have to interact with, whether via traditional means or via digital means, can make or break your state of mind. Hasn’t that always been true?

  3. Lot’s to noodle there Luis thanks. For me, as the adoption grows wider we get into the ‘got to be seen to be doing’ social. When older ways of working are not surrendered for the new, the necessary time given to truly work in a new way is absent, and we get an increased volume of ‘likes’, ‘+1’, ‘great work’, ‘I’m not so sure’ – non-constructive feedback that doesn’t progress conversations but is seen as ‘engaging’. The volume score goes up in social, but the quality score doesn’t move.

    I had a school teacher who once silenced my back of the classroom chatter with an “empty vessels make most noise Scott” comment – perhaps that’s why when I do contribute, I try to make it count. So, here’s an article that I hope you’ll like which gets to the point that if we focus on what we love to do, we hone our skills and our craft, and stop spending all our time self-promoting (or adding ‘volume’ from my perspective) the folks that appreciate the skill/craft/quality, not only help you along with that with their useful feedback, but in so doing, undertake that promotion too:

    Perhaps as more folk move through the ‘volume’ interactions, ditch their old ways of working to give them time to hone their crafts in the digital space, THEN we can move into the quality area and really see the value of digital.

  4. Ethan Zuckerman just published a wonderful book on the filter bubble we face as “digital cosmopolitans” [1]. Lots of thinking about the role and impact of this global re-wiring; I think this is all fertile ground for some practice runs, optimizing our new skillsets, and getting ready to push some real change into organizations (adoption, adaptation and exaptation).


  5. Hi Luis

    We are living in strange times – at once having access to tools that help us all connect and share what we feel is important and needed in order to move us forward as people and as organisations – yet simultaneously in the midst of a financial crisis (even though all we hear is recovery) which is removing the safeguards that we (especially in Europe) have fought for since the 50’s and we also now know that all of this stuff we do online is captured and shared elsewhere. We are weary and wary yet full of hope.

    Who profits is what we often have to ask when we question the reasons for events and actions. Do our organisations want us to disrupt the status quo; do they want wirearchy or to keep hierarchy?

    As you say where is real work happening in our streams? It’s not often is it, yet we have to be seen to be taking part, paying lip service to the dictats from above – this time it’s social and folks like you and I won’t agree with all that’s happening but we know the reasons.

    Thought I’d share this post from Thierry De Ballion – in it he talks about the virtual Assembly Line, the stream that we have to keep looking at, that constrains us in time and space (time expanded so we are ‘always on’ and space constrained so we are held in place, some social limbo waiting for the meaningful work to come along).

  6. Thanks again for a marvelous read. Took me a couple of days to land on this but it inspired a bit of thinking and writing on my own part. You continue to set a high standard for open reflection.

    The thing that is keeping me going is an experience I had earlier this year participating in a volunteer-led MOOC (etmooc). It honestly gave me a glimpse of how things could actually work when it all comes together – people interested in connecting with others, learning and yes playing. Hard to replicate – but etmooc showed it is possible.

  7. Reading up on your posts near the end of my summer break and makes my wheels turn. Are the tools of 2.0 truly bringing change for the good. Just three weeks ago I was at OHM 2013 listening to the changes at a larger scale then I was thinking off in my filter bubble. Being in control of the data I sent around, using tools as I need them. Having impact at work and a personal level over the last few years. Though I think play and learn are an integral part of work, as are making mistakes, it seems that the hierarchy is not fast changing. These tools enable us to trigger change, but people change slowly.

    To me, the filter bubble is disturbing on multiple levels. I want to hear when I listen. Not just to get the ‘best’ posts. I am the filter the tools should help me, but they seem to limit now.

    The social web? That’s about people, community and global open community is easy. I have made new friends in the virtual world over the years and met even more great people in real life. And AFK is the best place to have the discussions on the change that is needed. Long term thinking is needed, however the world around seems to think only short term goals are worth it. I disagree. I think and feel that the long term is the only think that truely matter. Even for enterprises, the focus in this fast paced world should be on we’re we are heading and not just what the next goal is we need to meet. How else can we sustain the passion we feel, how else can we sustain the energy levels we need.

    I will do the filtering, I want to listen to the noise and I do want to work for a sustainable change.

    Thanks for sharing your Thoughts Luis.

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