How to tell when Enterprise 2.0 is not appropriate for your organisation

As Enterprise 2.0 activists, we keep on trying to sell Enterprise 2.0 as the ideal solution for your organisation.

But to be completely honest, depending on your company objectives, values and culture it may just not work.

10 principles your company may have adopted that will make Enterprise 2.0 implementation counter productive …

1. Your company is not comfortable with innovation

It’s not a matter of being conservative, it just that your company culture loves it when nothing change.

Managers and employees alike have been doing the same routine job for the last ten years, they don’t want any innovation to emerge and disrupt the nice and quiet day-to-day work in real life business.

2. It is business critical to foster politics

Politics happens in any social organisations. So if you master politics, you master the organisation.

Your company loves it when people in the hierarchy feels they are powerful. This is the raison d’être of your enterprise. They have dedicated parking spaces, business card for travels, dedicated secretary, guaranteed pay rise and many other advantages.

Each department rates its own importance with the number of people they have and the cash flow they burn : that’s the way it is in real life business.

3. Strong managers have a pivotal in the organisation

In your company managers have to be tough men, there’s no wimp in here. They have to be able to kick the butt of people lacking motivation to reach the company objectives.

They make it clear who is the boss during the very long meetings whose agenda is decided on the fly by the manager.

In addition, managers make sure any bottom-up or top down information go through them so they can filter and make sure they stay in control. A proof of how important they are : they spend 20% of their time fighting with their email box.

Taylor and Ford made it clear that’s the way you have to run your lazy resources to get the job done in real life business.

4. Employees are engaged or else …

The Company needs the engagement from employees. So either they engaged, either our managers kick their butt (refer to point 3).

Employees have to behave. They’ve been hired to produce and apply the methods, processes and strategy coming from above.

They are not here to ask silly questions that would disrupt the regular process.

It is OK for strong managers to take ownership of any of their employee successful contribution : this is what we call team spirit in the real life business.

5. The IT department defines the organisation

Nowadays you have to be VERY careful with IT security issues. As a result, IT has naturally emerged as the most important department in your organisation.

It is very handy for the IT department that all different department (Marketing, Sales, Professional Services, R&D, Product definition, IT) has its own hermetic silo : then we can ensure that all communication go through the Strong manager : this help preventing any security issue in real life business.

6. Collaboration is dangerous

In a similar fashion, collaboration is DANGEROUS. One could exchange information with somebody from another department without going through the manager. The latter would then be terribly upset and upsetting managers goes against your company core values.

Besides, it could happen that employees share information that is not 100% VALIDATED & CORRECT. Can you envision the disaster ? Your company can. Better be safe in real life business.

7. Employees need to know where to find stuff

In every company, people are losing an amazing amount of time searching for information. Not in yours, because employees HAVE to know where things are.

The IT department have structured what there is to know in directories in different network drives and in Real Time Database Management Systems. All your employees have to know is the name and location of every bit of information they are supposed to work with.

Who needs knowledge management system in real life business with disciplined and closely monitored employees ?

8.High Fear / Low Trust

In such a dangerous world as ours you don’t want to nurture a trust culture. You need your employees to be wary of any person they have not been working with for at least 5 years.

Besides, you make sure that any mistake is severely punished and ridiculed so that people don’t lose other people time with any idea/document they are not 200% sure of in real life business.

9. By IT workers for PC users

Your company is developing software. To be run on computer. Nowadays every man and his dog can use a computer.

So why should your teams ask any question to the customers and question the way they use your product ? Asking questions to your users is the best way to make them think you are clueless and lose market share.

To communicate with the customer, a couple of annual official corporate statements and ad campaigns are the way we do in real life business.

10. Business Methodologies are just a way for consultants to make big bucks

What’s the whole story with this Getting Thing Done fad ? How about these Agile projects ? Hey did they use Scrum to build the Pyramids or the Ford T ? Let’s be serious for a minute. Your company has been in the business for 30 years and it has been doing things the same way ever since.

Why should it change ? As if the world has seen any dramatic change since then. Hexadecimal numbers still go from 0 to F : there’s nothing new under the sun.

And don’t even mention business schools studies or academics : none has been interested in your organisation lately. A proof of how little they know about real life business.

Conclusion

If any of the above is true for your company, then Implementing Enterprise 2.0 is very risky.

It encourages collaboration and knowledge sharing for employees to be more efficient.

It fosters weak links, networking, questioning and associating : there could be the risk of some people discussing the same problem from different perspectives and come with some ideas or even an innovation.

It fosters employees engagement and helps leveraging flow of information to create value.

How scary. Better be safe : in that case make sure you stay out of Enterprise 2.0.

Can you think of any other principles that would make Enterprise 2.0 a no-go for an organisation (in real life business) ?

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11 comments

  1. Hi Cecil,

    It is a great article. I would like to ask your permission to share your blog on PLMAC (www.plmac.com). If you agree, please kindly provide the URL for me to add it under the resource tab.

    Regards,
    Linli

  2. Hi Rob > Thanks very much I really appreciate. Hey you gonna get myself blushing here.

    Hi Linli, thanks ! Waow Canada is in the house (Rob also is from your lovely country). Please feel free to add my blog to plmac.com. However I would rather recommend the post on the IT integration of Enterprise 2.0 : http://wp.me/p58hh-wl

  3. How to tell when Enterprise 2.0 is not appropriate for your organisation…

    This article has been submitted to IntranetLounge, a website with a collection of links to the best articles about intranets…

  4. Good stuff. Nice to see something less shrill 🙂

    Is it worth adding a ‘stewardship’ dimension? Although I’d like to see public sector organisations trying new things (in the UK, at least) and attempting to innovate, they are, as some of the people there have pointed out to me on occasion, not ‘managers’ in the sense we’re used to.

    Rather they’re stewards of resources that aren’t theirs. As we’ve seen with the scandals related to Local Authorities that lost money in Iceland, sometimes the ‘least worst’ outcome is the best outcome.

    E2.0 (unless it included all the stakeholders ie voters were plugged in too?) could be something ‘stewards’ would be right to be cautious about?

  5. […] Sehr schöner Artikel in dem ohnehin sehr lesenswerten Blog Hypertextual, auch wenn wir den Begriff “Enterprise 2.0″ nicht mögen, denn im Vergleich mit der Internet- und IT-Industrie sind manche Kunden / Auftraggeber schon durch so viele Häutungen und Epochen gegangen, da sollte man sich mit der 2.0-Schlaumeier-Attitüde ruhig etwas zurückhalten: How to tell when Enterprise 2.0 is not appropriate for your organisation. […]

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