Author: Harold Jarche
Posted: October 11, 2012 1514 views

Do you work in an organization that is slow to adapt? Do you feel constrained by inept IT and HR policies? Are there deep impenetrable departmental silos within a non-collaborative culture? Is innovation and change painfully slow? If you answered yes to any of these, what can you really do from the inside?

Cartoon by Hugh Macleod @gapingvoid

Euan Semple writes about this in The blindingly, bloody, obvious:

It occurred to me the other day while working with a client that one of the challenges of enticing their colleagues to join in with their social networks is how obvious the benefits are once you have experienced them are – but how obscure they are until you have. Sometimes disparagingly called “not getting it” this is one of the biggest problems to overcome. You can spend a fortune on technology but unless you find a way to help people to “get it”, to understand the benefits to them of getting their hands dirty and taking part, you might as well not have bothered.

Timing is everything. An idea that is too early for its time will often get killed, especially if it gets referred to a committee. If you are convinced that your future workplace should look more like a Wirearchy, (a dynamic two-way flow of power and authority based on, knowledge, trust, credibility, a focus on results; enabled by interconnected people and technology) then the best thing you can do now is prepare.

  • Prepare yourself to be a continuous learner.
  • Prepare yourself and your team/department to work collaboratively.
  • Start narrating your work.
  • Become a knowledge curator and share widely.
  • Engage in professional social networks and communities of practice.
  • Model the behaviours you would like to see in others.

Finally, watch for moments of need, when the organization has a problem or crisis and then be ready with the tools and skills to help. It’s like being your own upstart company, developing asymmetrical skills under the radar, inside your organization. If nothing else, you will be preparing yourself to work in a wirearchy, whether it is your current employer or a future one. The network era revolution starts within each of us. Start walking the talk.

About the author >

Harold Jarche

Harold Jarche passionately believes in the re-integration of work and learning. People have connected with Harold over the past decade, through his blog and consulting practices, for innovative ideas on business, technology, social networks and learning. He also distills heady topics like complexity theory into practical advice. Harold has saved clients time and money by focusing on business objectives and conducting cause analyses, instead of prescribing training as a solution looking for a problem. A graduate of the Royal Military College, Harold served over 20 years in the Canadian Army in leadership and training roles. Harold has held senior positions at the Centre for Learning Technologies and e-Com Inc. His preferred workplace is on his bike, where he gets his best ideas.

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