War for Talent #Perspective

AI Recruiting ~ For The Lotus Root

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To date, the Lotus root cannot be holistically cultivated by a machine. It is true that at some point in time, machines will be able to replace humans but at this time, it is not possible.   The root cannot be broken or damaged as it is extracted from the field.   If it breaks it becomes contaminated.

Recruiting in concept should be similar to gathering the delicate Lotus root.    They should

  • Have a clear idea of what they need
  • Have identified resources and complex networks to use
  • Understand how to talk to people
  • Understand how to work with others
  • Understand ecosystems and nature

In reality, recruiting today is more like robotic fishing.

  • High usage of automation
  • Filtering through technical netting
  • Lack of understanding of the environment and impact on harvesting
  • Lack of sensitivity to the larger ecosystem
  • Lack of common respect for the environment

War for Talent is a War on Talent

24. WAR IS A MERE CONTINUATION OF POLICY BY OTHER MEANS.

We see, therefore, that War is not merely a political act, but also a real political instrument, a continuation of political commerce, a carrying out of the same by other means. All beyond this which is strictly peculiar to War relates merely to the peculiar nature of the means which it uses. That the tendencies and views of policy shall not be incompatible with these means, the Art of War in general and the Commander in each particular case may demand, and this claim is truly not a trifling one. But however powerfully this may react on political views in particular cases, still it must always be regarded as only a modification of them; for the political view is the object, War is the means, and the means must always include the object in our conception. – Source: Carl von Clausewitz, On War, trans. Col. J.J. Graham. New and Revised edition with Introduction and Notes by Col. F.N. Maude, in Three Volumes (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & C., 1918). Vol. 1. Chapter: CHAPTER I: WHAT IS WAR?

Topping the list of concerns of CIO’s is this idea that they can’t find the people they need to work on complex tasks.

Why can’t they find the people they need?  

The reason they can’t find talent is because they

  • don’t know what they need
  • don’t know what they are looking for
  • tracking a moving target
  • are transforming
  • are busy
  • believe they they know and don’t like the choices or answers provided

Subscription Workforce

This idea of war is interesting.   Leaders are often driven to war and fighting concepts as opposed to peace and unification.   A large contingent of these leaders have no understanding of war.    The lifetime of a war-fighter is not shaped only by her knowledge or experience; it is shaped by her drive, motivation, curiosity, passion and underlying commitment to the cause.   This is true but it is also true that war and war-fighters are driven by contract and cash flow “In all countries engaged in war, experience has sooner or later pointed out that contracts with private men of substance and understanding are necessary for the subsistence, covering, clothing, and moving of any Army.” ¾ Robert Morris, Superintendent of Finance, 1781

It is a subscription model of man, material and machine that has perpetuated and supported the mechanism of war for many in human history.  The relationship is complex, dynamic and fluid.

The government understands this model and has used and applied it for many years.  Many government civilians exchanged their military uniforms for government jobs in order to continue their service.  Many contractors or consultants are also from the ranks but there were opportunities for those who could not serve or who chose not to serve.   The complicated nature of this model is a high transaction expert workforce with continuity of mission, vision, purpose, scope and objective as executed by the demands of policy extended though defense and war activities.  The catch?  It costs a lot of money.

A subscription workforce model in the civilian world is also not a new concept.  The technologies are newer along with global reach, virtual workforce and demand management exponentially.

The subscription workforce model is moving towards fast micro-transactions with a floating contingent workforce.   This introduces a lack of certainty but with the demands on CIO’s to lower cost of delivery and support, this is the price companies are willing to pay.

 

The Grid ~ Network, Relationships and War

The “War for Talent” is a “War on Talent.”

Companies can’t find the talent they need to get the job done. 

Imagine you are a chef, the phone rings and you are asked if you know how to make soup.  Let us assume you have 20 years of experience including many years of soup making.  You tell the recruiter that you are an experienced person and you have the ability to “hit the ground running.”    The recruiter takes a 5.5 second look at your resume and determines you would be a good candidate for the job.   She passes your name to the hiring manager or corporate HR person for consideration.   The hiring manager looks at your resume and without discussion makes a determination that you can’t make the soup they are looking for.   End of story.

In another scenario,  the hiring manager says they will “talk to the person” and through discussion never asks about what the person (you) “can do” only asks what the person “does or did.” End of story.

The hiring manager or representative from the company may not even understand what the person should do.    They don’t know.

The focus is on experience as listed on a resume, a lack of understanding around what is actually needed,  a lack of understanding of human factors and the idea that people only matter at the particular moment that they individually represent the “most value.”

The basic foundation of success in war is “clarity.”   Even the bad guys in history were consistent in their vision.

Today, it is more likely that a person will get a job through a relationship.   This relationship is a token of trust that is passed on from a person to another.   The burden of building trust through a document or LinkedIn or an electronic system is so high, that the likelihood of success in gaining a great resource or employment is low.  Yet, companies are spending more dollars on technological systems in order to pipeline more options and perform analysis on these.  All in order to find the “right fit.”     What that means is an enigma.  If you break the code or understand it,  you could get in and/or be accepted.    The result is a breakdown of trust in the market.   To compensate for lack of trust,  companies have to entice people with benefits or money.   This has created a break down in communication and results in increased risk on delivery.

Companies can’t deliver on promises.   They have to buy solutions to deliver.   What they lose in consolidated cookie cutter solutions is differentiation, diversity and market position.   In fact, the more companies look like one another because of these behaviors, the less attractive they become to the workforce and consumers.

The reason why companies can’t deliver or find the talent is their lost motivation to focus on trust, integrity, respect and clarity of concern for the people they are looking to serve in all directions.   An H-1B visa won’t fix that and Watson, Alexa or OK Google won’t fix it.  It is a core value that when damaged, creates a vacuum.

Seven Months

For these seven months a year men and women go to harvest the Lotus root. 82101452162877

The Lotus root is valued at about $3.80 USD per pound.   The per dollar cost of a consumers food dollar is close to

labor.PNG

If this were a technology market,  we would automatically look to disrupt labor, after all it is the highest cost.   The problem for US based companies is they have very little time to understand what is happening in this band of labor, they are just under pressure to reduce.

The outcome is simple; damage the root as it comes from the earth and the product is devalued.  As you push harder to introduce new ways to extract the root,  you damage the ecosystem and your brand.   All this starts to feel hard and confusing,  you seek easy answers.   Easy is lazy and less thoughtful, it makes things worse.  It starts to feel like pain.    Pain turns into need and need turns to knee jerk.  This continues and creates an illusion of market scarcity.    Market scarcity in required labor to support and deliver creates a real need to leverage consolidated services.    Brand is diminished and…  you know the rest.

Let us start with honesty, build trust, show integrity and respect.    Let us work on the fundamentals of basic humanity.   Real change and real disruption starts with a clear effort to focus on workforce engagement.    If companies are know to love, honor and respect talent,  they will never have a problem finding it. 

  

Categories KM

The Truth of Human Resources and KM #PracticalHR

Cohenstone.jpg

 

Visually Compelling Organizational Development

The work by Kevin Desmond was thoughtful and emotionally charged.      It is tough to be a leader in general, but the world today makes it even more difficult.

Leadership is something I care deeply about.   I strive to be a better leader in the same way that Jascha Heifetz said, “If I don’t practice one day, I know it; two days, the critics know it; three days, the public knows it.”

It takes practice and clear commitment, but the results aren’t always as beautiful as a heartwarming tune.   It may result in tough decisions and failure, but you have to strive on and keep trying.

I have a team and they are geographically dispersed.  I care about them as a group and certainly care for them each as individuals.   I am lucky and honored to have this amazing team and I have a responsibility to honor them and give them time to learn more about each other, including building their own relationships.    Finding time is not always easy, but this was something that I chose to do with the support of my leadership.

The compounding factors in team dynamics and collaboration are always moving.  It feels as if we have to hurry to get something going in order to get this snapshot of a moment in time.    This is where Kevin was able to come in and get us started.

The answers aren’t always.. 

Right and wrong aren’t clear concepts as they used to be.  Some would argue that they are clear, but what I would say is that perspective and context are key to a shared determination of what is right and wrong.   In order to share common perspective or context, we must be able to communicate and share our ideas.    Our ideas are born from our knowledge or our perceived knowledge about something.    Regardless, we must level set and to do that “level setting” we must compromise.     In order to compromise we have to have a willingness to compromise.    We have to build trust.   Trust is a critical enabler.   It is THE critical enabler.

Kevin came down and sat in my office a while back, he looked right at me and told me that I may have to do some things that would make me uncomfortable but I would have to trust the process.    We went through some of the ideas and concepts he would use with a clear objective of helping the team baseline or “level set.”    He said, “Howie, you realize this is only the beginning, right?”

We set the objectives and goals,  built in some time for flexibility and discussion and included some primers for thinking.   There was clarity in the thinking and of course what we sought to achieve, but the results were emotionally compelling right from the start.   For the sake of privacy and respect for my amazing team,  I will only share my personal experience and my personal thoughts as part of a similar thought exercise not directly aligned or reflective of anyone other than my experience.

It is the reason for the Cohen tombstone at the top of this post.   If I am to choose a picture of what I want to represent who I am and I am given a controlled group of images, which would I choose?

For the sake of this posting and in practical consideration,  I chose a grave stone with my name on it.   I would preferred it to have said Howard Cohen, Father, Husband, Brother, Son, Time Traveler, Stunt Car Racer, Lover, Fighter,  Good Guy, Bad Guy, Hardworking Guy,  and on the bottom “Crack is Wack” because I think I am funny sometimes.     I mean to say that I consider my mortality.  I consider my life in that I am thankful for it and I am thankful for each day.  I think of death as I understand that it is an end or beginning and I don’t know which, but I know that it can come at any time and that I should be true to who I am and love hard, play hard, work hard, but mostly be the best person I can be.   Not so easy to pick a picture, but is something that we have to do.   Every moment in our lives is like the iPhone video application,  you can take movies, but every once in a while you have to push the button and get that single frame snapshot.

The exercise of taking this image and sharing it with you and potentially the whole world is a little embarrassing I suppose and a bit revealing of some of my weakness and maybe strength, butall  in all, it is important because it is part of building trust through sharing and revealing who I am.    One of my team said “there is the face you show and the face you hold close” the you that you are is a multitude.   Of the many, you are a person and what you choose to show or hide consumes energy.

With one act and one question,  Kevin started an activity that set a course for myself and my team to share and consider the multitudes in each of us.   In my willingness and/or the willingness of the team, we could begin to share start a process of “level setting.”

Measuring the Distance of Knowledge

How do you measure knowledge?   How do you measure trust?   What was the best team you ever had?   Who was the best leader you have ever known?    How do you measure success?  How do you define success?   What if success for you is failure for someone else?  Is that always the case?   Are you running a race?  Is this race with yourself or others?  Why do you jump out of airplanes?    What would make you better and how would you measure that?  How would you be sure that you were better?

** I just started working for Booz Allen and was working on the floor of US Joint Forces Command Integration Directorate.    An old Marine was running part of the military architecture shop, he was a contractor himself but commanded the equivalent of a cell.   In other words, he had his team on lock down and he was no joke.    He called me over to speak with him, looked at me in the eyes (sorta scary) and said “son, what’s your CV?”   I really didn’t know what the heck he was asking me so I just stood there looking at him.  He said, “ok, were you in the service?”   I said “yes sir, I was a Damage Controlman.”    He looked around for a moment and literally stood himself taller almost as if I were to shrink down and he asked “How the hell does a DCMan get here?”    My answer..

“Well sir,  I went(s) to college”    In fact, by that time I had a Masters but it isn’t like you carry it around like a patch on your arm or anything.

We are judged by what we do or what we have done and that is in the realm of someones idea about us in which they (think) they know and/or make assumptions about us.   Even if there is a measure that exists or criteria, these are still open for discussion.    I went to school but maybe the school I went to wasn’t the top school in the nation.   What if I had the best teacher in the nation in one of the lower tiered schools?   Would there be a measure or some condition or factoid that would illuminate that as a fact?    The answer is of course “no.”    The point is that we have to measure what we can, and define success as we can but in order to do this we have to be clear about it in the scope of our activities and relative to a moment in time.

Throwing the fastest pitch consistently over time matters only if these measured factors produce the result that you threw that same pitch during a game and as a result won!

Kevin helped illuminate these points through a series of activities and discussions.   He talked about measures and what they mean’t and the importance of using them.   He also spoke of the context in which they apply.

The Human Resource to Knowledge Connection

I enjoy the thinking that Knowledge Management and Human Resources is tied at the hip and they are their own combination of many things that add up to one.   The idea that we have to be able to have a person in a mode to listen or receive,  and a person in a mode to transmit.   The active listener actually listening and not thinking to rebuke or over take the conversation.    It is the primary condition in communication.    The condition to be ready to listen, learn, read, pay attention and think about what someone else has said or is saying.     If you are reading this right now, you are allowing me the honor of sharing with you and I thank you for that.    It is the precondition for knowledge sharing and knowledge management.   It is also a condition provide though an act of respect.   It may very well be that after you read what I have written that you lose or gain respect for me but under this condition at this very moment, you are providing me a channel in which I can communicate with you.   This is where the organizational development begins but the preconditions and factors must allow for it.   Just as if you are growing something in a garden,  you need the environment, conditions, and factors to all come into play.   Human factors, human engagement and understanding of cognitive, physical and social conditions, are the preconditions for our knowledge connection.

 

Bring It

I am writing about this because I believe that OD doesn’t get enough recognition.   The words say “Organizational Development” but what it really means is “Factors, conditions and practices, to make people better.”  As a result of helping people, the organization will naturally become better and that results in a domino effect that spreads in multiple directions.   Why?  Because kind acts matter.

If you want the details of how to make all this stuff work,  you could reach out to my friends Kevin Desmond  or Tom Tiberia as they are actually the experts.  I am just sharing the results.   What were the results anyways? 

I walked away with a to-do list of things that I need to work on.   I also have a list of team goals aligned to my organization and organizational goals tied to myself as an individual.  I have a lot of questions that went unanswered but that is good because I never thought to ask some of these questions and I didn’t know how important they were.    I have ideas on measures that matter and I have homework for myself and my team.

Adam Grant Author of Give and Take recently said in a post “We love asking successful people for their secrets. But often, they’re not even aware of what they do differently from others.

Next time you want to learn from someone, instead of asking directly, go to that person’s collaborators. They have the clearest window into unique habits.”

What I had a chance to do here and what Kevin and Tom gave me was a window into my actions through the lens of others.   I can see a glimpse and take action on keeping my strengths strong and working on my legs..   <– that was a joke, you ever see those guys that just lift with their upper bodies?  They look top heavy.. I think you can look that way intellectually or emotionally as well if you don’t round out your work out.

gymguy

As usual.. questions comments, complaints..

 

 

 

Collaboration Tool Crazy

Digital Fix.jpg

Dazed and Confused -Hammer Blaming

Don’t blame tools for your confusion.   Companies are buying too many tools and trying to implement them thinking that tools will solve their problems.   This is nothing new.  The problem is exacerbated by software as a service driven applications available to everyone.  I heard this termed “Credit Card IT”  where individuals decide that they don’t like the tools their companies provide and they go buy their own.

The buzz today is “Digital” that is all I hear right now.    It is absolutely ridiculous for companies to continue down the path of buying new solutions without rationalizing what they currently have.   The IT spend is out of control in many companies and while they are trying to flatten their budget, they are only spending more.   The only way to offset this is to either lay off employees or “green” the landscape, meaning trade old folks for new younger ones that are cheaper.

With a total focus on tools vs people or actual business needs,  the tools keep getting bought, every one gets “all digital” and they wind up or will wind up with a digital spaghetti mess in the corner.

If you look at this “Elements of Modern Enterprise Collaboration”, it makes sense but most organizations only focus on the technologies portion.

 

Harsh Words for Dummies

Does this look cheap? Digi_Mktg_Map_Final_April_2015.gif

Came from https://www.gartner.com/marketing/.

Do you understand what the heck these things are?

Do you have any idea of how they relate to each other?

Do you have any idea of how much they really cost?

Do you have staff on site that isn’t trying to sell you something that honestly understands this?

Do you know how all of these are relevant for your business?

Do you have knowledge management practice of any kind?

Do you have enterprise architectures? (not solution but enterprise)

If you can’t answer these questions, you probably should stop buying tools.  Well.. stop buying tools anyway but…  They will wind up in the corner gathering electron dust right near your CRM system that no one cares about.

Stop Spending Money .. Now

Stop spending money… <– yes.. stop spending money.    The first thing that needs to happen is “stop the madness” in spending.

There is no perfect enterprise and their won’t be perfected enterprise collaboration but what is for sure, is that we can do better.    The world is really truly moving towards an application based enterprise.   This means that their will be an ecosystem of tools and capabilities in the enterprise.    There are patterns of collaboration and communication that have people working together through different applications under different contexts.   Just think of it as your smart phone.   The standard is the phone, the applications are put into the app store and you use what you need when you need it based on the needs of the moment.

This is really the way things are going.    When you see Microsoft SharePoint 2016, apps will be a big part of it.   Look at any of the tools coming out, all application focused.

Still, I am talking about the tools.  The real focus should be on the business.   The first three things to do are…  (if you are with a medium or large company)

Grab your best Enterprise Architect, if you don’t have one.. go get one immediately.

  1. Start with Vendor Management and IT security – Between these two groups, you can get a good start on what you have in the enterprise.
  2. Create an EA framework to understand the enterprise portfolio of tools.
  3. Start a formal Knowledge Management initiative.

The results of these activities will start to highlight the “best things you never knew you had.”

  1. The EA activities will highlight tools and spending, it will also help immediately lower your IT and business risk.
  2. The EA framework will provide a starting place to process enterprise capabilities, tools and find reuse.   Companies bleed out money because of a “lack of awareness.”
  3. A KM practice will get your organization focused on the business of knowledge.  Knowledge is your business.  It is that simple.

Of course there are successful companies that don’t have a formal knowledge management practice but chances are they have an informal knowledge management practice and it is part of their culture.

Contractors, Consultants and Experts OH MY!

If you are going to hire brilliant, expensive and knowledgeable consultants, ask to see their enterprise collaboration practices.    When I say ask, what I really mean is get a tour with real people not just partners and senior executives.   Senior leaders will talk a good talk but the truth is most of these companies including the big four don’t use their own collaboration tools well. They don’t generally speaking understand KM either.  The reason why is generally more associated with the business model and practices vs tools.  What I mean by that is large consulting firms don’t get partners in silo cost centers rich by sharing.

Bottom line here is we have to be honest about this whole thing.    Don’t spend the money on all the enterprise tools if you don’t care about the people aspect.  If leadership looks at staff as just a number and doesn’t truly believe in employee engagement, it will be a waste.

Too Much?

This isn’t personal.  Companies have made that clear with the sheer amount of transformation, cost cutting, layoffs, restructuring etc.   They still find dollars to re-tool or add tools to the organization.   This makes little sense.   They let experts in their business walk out the door in exchange for tools they don’t understand.   The stock prices go up with the stories of how they are embracing technology and transforming but the fact remains that most people spend over 6+ hours a day in Email.

Go figure..  rolling all those heads and still email is the most used and most common tool set in the enterprise.    Try shutting that down..

So, lets not blame the tools for our problems or for that matter, the amount of tools that you have in the enterprise that you are allowing to accumulate.

Focus on the business, work with people and engage with them using best practices of Knowledge Management and Enterprise Architecture.   Let the story be told so that you know what actions to take.  Then once you “get it” you can “get all digital” but for now..

Stay analog my friends..

Thanks @Wendy Woodson for helping us “keep it real”

 

 

 

 

Content Clutter 3 Steps to Start #Digital Cleanup

Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo wrote a book about methods to deal with clutter and organize clutter in physical space.  I considered her practices in the context of enterprise content management and virtual space.

= A Great Deal of Nothing (1)The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

Lesson #1: Tackle Categories, Not Rooms <–Kondo / Create an Enterprise Approach, Not Project Based

Many companies start with a project or a pilot when it comes to working on content management.  The problem is that it creates inconsistent behavior between teams and groups.  It also creates inconsistent practices on enterprise systems.

Consider working with leadership and the corporate communication team to build communication campaigns around content cleanup.  Depending on how your company manages time, consider building in a small amount of time for learning content management practices and creating a pipeline for cleanup and organization.

Lesson #2: Respect Your Belongings <—Kondo /Respect Your Content (Explicit Knowledge)

When you search for something on your network do you find more than one version of it in more than one place?   Is the content tied to an authoritative data source?  Is the content valid?  Does it hold value to keep?  Is it a risk to keep?  Is it accessible by everyone? Should it be?  Content is everywhere while it should be some place appropriately accessible, find-able and understandable.   Identify high risk content immediately and take action to at least mark it for review.

Lesson #3: Nostalgia Is Not Your Friend <—Kondo / Records Management and Retention Matters

Before I started learning about “personal knowledge management” I would always enjoy keeping everything “handy” all the time just in case I needed it.   A few megs turned into gigs and a few gigs turned into terabytes.   Before long I was running applications to find duplicates across my own personal data stores.   There are many reasons to keep content handy and many more reasons to have an archival strategy.

In the enterprise we need to be concerned with the risks of improperly managing our records and content.    We also wind up losing a lot of important content because we create content that we feel emotionally tied to, and we seek keep it.   I know a person that said he had the last 13+ years on his laptop.   How is that good for the enterprise?  What happens when he turns his laptop in when he retires?   Managing content extends all across the enterprise including mobile devices.  Ever wonder exactly how much content is in your enterprise?

Just in case you want a KonMari Cheat Sheet.. 

 KonMari Cheat Sheet by MakeSpace, a full-service storage company that picks up, stores, and delivers your stuff - for less than self-storage prices.

via MakeSpace

Summary

Content management strategies often involve a lot of discussion around tools.  Any discussions about a content strategy should start with practice, process and methods.  These should be driven by a clear business approach to reduce operational risk, reduce cost for the business and optimize opportunity to find information and knowledge needed for all aspects of work including generating income!

Digital World | Forgetful Consumer

This is a time machine post.

Digital engagement does not mean or equal good use of historical records.   In fact, I wrote a post in 2012 to prove the consumer market has a short term memory.   Here is the original post https://cohenovate.com/2012/01/ and a simple concept to go along with it.  I said

Consider buying stock in Carnival Corporation CCL if I am right people will forget that one of their cruise liners just crashed and they have already forgotten about how many people have gotten sick on cruises!   When you make your millions just send me a note..

The stock that day was $32.91,  today it is 49.06.   Would have made a few bucks if you invested.  What is more interesting is http://www.dividend.com/how-to-invest/carnival-cruise-disasters-how-has-its-stock-price-reacted/ which shows a history of disasters with CCL that have since been recovered.

The key point here is that more often than not, digital behavior and sentiment is more about “right now” as opposed to thinking of the past or future.   In terms of transactions, from an investor standpoint there are concerns and speculation about the future but consumers worry about current conditions.

Summary

The concept about the “forgetful” consumer will continue to emerge as it is a precondition for understanding how to work with customers.  Consumers are very forgiving but more than forgiving, they are forgetful.   With all of the technologies today bombarding them, they would forgive an organization for bad behavior if it means something”easy” today.  They forget because they are so bombarded.

Beyond the consumers, investors are pretty capable of figuring out what will stick in the mind of the consumer.   I may be pointing out the obvious but behavior is where we have to start in consideration of knowledge practices and technologies pertaining to “Digital.”

 

 

 

 

 

The People in the Middle #KM leadership

Congratulations! You just purchased a new social tool for your organization.

software-analysisIt only cost your company a few bucks to get licenses and there are very little infrastructure costs associated.  In only a few short months, your teams will break down silos faster than you could ever have imagined.

  1. Software
  2. Infrastructure
  3. Maintenance including Service Level Agreement
  4. Corporate Communications and Marketing

Ready… Set… Go…!    Click here pacman for result 

A social platform without community management is like a party without a host.   No one has any idea what the heck is going on and / or what to do.  They show up, see that everyone is confused and leave.

Many organizational leaders simply don’t know what they are buying and what it takes to make this successful.   When they are told what it will really take, they don’t want to spend the money they come to consider as “additional.”   The only reason why they consider it as an extra cost is due to poor understanding of the social space and poor planning for implementation, support, and on-going day to day operations.

They believe  “Not only will you get better collaboration, we will throw in cost savings, 100% ROI and you ..yes you … will no longer need email”!  As soon as a “TOOL” is purchased for the company it will be … “SOCIAL.”

Wait..what?…Where is the focus on the people???

-making sense-people

Story from the Trenches 

This story / discussion comes from a colleague Wendy Woodson @iaqtworld 

I was recently involved in a conversation related to this. I was sharing an image created to help the conversation. Nothing complicated.

One of the first comments I received was “you need to remove the people from the center of the image, it isn’t important and it makes it busy.” This is not the first time I have heard/seen this. All too often the people are left out of the equation.

I responded with that is the problem today. People are considered insignificant and left out until it’s too late. Leaders sit around wondering what happened, why aren’t they using/doing what we want?

I went on to explain it is important that the people are not only included but are the center or focus of it all. People are essential to it all. Remove them and there is nothing. No one to use the tools or to follow the process. Without them, who will manage the content who will use the systems? People are the nuclei and everything, we as knowledge managers do, is to provide benefit to them and the community they create. – WW

-making sense-

People in the Middle

This is very simple. Social media tools that are used for personal purposes are very different than tools used for a social intranet or social business.  Beyond this social internal and social external for business use is also very different.   The common thread is context and purpose.   If people are in the middle and they are the center based the platforms are used more.  Platform use does not by itself equal value.   This is very important to understand.   A page hit doesn’t mean anything.   Every aspect of the human interaction has a specific context and it will change over time.  That is why the community management aspect is so important.

Community

5042953763_6ab5114e9b_z

Community management is a key critical function for a healthy social network.  Being connected can mean the difference between a new sale and a missed opportunity.  It can be a channel for innovation, information, observation, awareness and it can also be detrimental.    Placing social systems out in the wild without expertise is akin to running with scissors.

Summary

Whether you are building a social channel for your sales force,  a place for your whole company to meet at the water cooler, or simply enabling your work force to have additional channels for communication and collaboration, people need to be the central focus.   One thing is for certain as it stands today,  tools without people will not build, produce, sell, create, innovate, enable or protect your company.   The case for a social platform must include active community management, facilitation, leadership and communication.

 

 

 

 

Boundary People #KM Engagement

Our Town

A few weeks ago,  I had a friend visit my office.  As we were walking the halls of the building and passing the various business areas, I waved and said “hello” to the people I know.   My friend said “oh, you must be the Mayor.”   If anyone were truly the Mayor it would most likely be my Architect.

I wonder if it is still true in most organizations today that we can identify those people that we call “Mayor” or if this is something that is changing dramatically due to the global workforce or virtual teams.

For today, at least where I work, it is like a small town with the various town folk representing their areas of business.   I think of this as work-town.

The Boundary People

Today, I considered looking at my network in the context of multiple towns.   I considered all those folks that I know about but generally don’t interact with and the opportunities that they represent.

Socilab   LinkedIn Social Network Visualization  Analysis  and Education

I used the Socilab LinkedIn network analysis tool located here 

Here is another view ..

12me LinkedIn Social Network Visualization  Analysis  and Education

It looks like I may have to get out more..

The  tool only allows for 500 people, so this is a sample size but I think it is a good representation of my connections.

It would be interesting to have this in the office for all of our folks to see individually.  I am well aware that tools exist for this but we would have to consider the practical implications for people.  http://www.kstoolkit.org/Social+Network+Analysis

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Basically,  I have my work-town relationships, my hometown relationships, my current town relationships and some that live between the hometown and the work-town.

Looking at the “social network” as informed by a technical system would not be enough to apply the personal context of what the relationships mean to me in context.    This aside,  there is an opportunity to measure operational effectiveness or “connectedness” in some context through looking at the boundaries.

Why do they (boundary people) exist at the edge of my network?

What town are they in?

Where are they relative to me and in what context do we have a relationship?

Relationships are “for purpose” and often times, this is represented as a negative but I see it as a positive.  For example,  I enjoy getting a cup of coffee in the cafeteria in the morning.  I see Toni every morning and share a brief exchange with her.  I enjoy that relationship and the coffee.   If the coffee were not there, I honestly don’t know how often I would simply find myself wandering down there.  That being said, I often walk away from the cafeteria with a lot more than just coffee.

Mindful Boundary Person Engagement

In life you’ll realize there is a purpose for everyone you meet.  Some will test you, some will use you, and some will teach you.  But most importantly, some will bring out the best in you. – unknown

Social tools seek to introduce technical capabilities to address these boundaries.   LinkedIn now shows you that someone is having a birthday or an event change that you can see.  This presents the opportunity to reach out to that person living at the edge of the network or town.   This kind of capability generally doesn’t exist in the workplace and even if tools like Jive are in place for this kind of notification, work-town engagement is much different and results would be heavily impacted by work-town culture.

The intent here is to work on our level of awareness without the benefit of these social tools in our network.

I must admit that I do use tools though..   I use “The Brain” Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 10.52.13 AM

The process I use .. is

Person –> Context—>Date—> Organization—>Group—>Applications—>Events

It isn’t a perfect system but it allows me to determine who I know and in what context I know them beyond a relationship in a CRM tool.    I can see many to many relationships.. but I digress.

The point is to understand the boundaries and find ways to turn them into a relationship of deeper meaning or better context.   The benefits are consistent with good community management.   In my case, it is data about a person converting to dialogue with a person.. and gaining the opportunities to share and grow with new relationships.

Who lives in your town?

Maybe you could get out and meet up with some of your boundary people?

Thoughts?

More information on networks and connectedness can be found here https://netmap.wordpress.com/2016/01/07/how-to-get-strategic-insights-from-net-map/