Skimming over the organisational issues

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —March 14, 2005
Filed in Culture

James Dellow made the following comment:

I think there are some barriers to blogging inside corporates that Shawn’s paper skims overs. For example, IT architecture, business culture and security. I mean we’ve had groupware for years and some organisations still find it hard to use it well.

Your right James, I did skim over those issues (I was concentrating on getting the basic idea described) but they are important. I couldn’t comment on the architectural and security issues (not really my area), accept to say many companies have introduced blogging (on the intranet), so I guess it can be done and the architectural and security issues can be addressed.

The more difficult issue, I think, is getting a group of people to blog in the first place. As I suggest in the paper, sales people are unlikely to blog but pre-sales folk are more likely if the right environment (culture, recognition, WIFM) exists. I think there are 4 hurdles you need to jump to address motivation:
1) start with understanding people’s basic needs (narrative is a good technique here);
2) think about how much activity is required to create an output (in this case, blogging–if it’s too much of a chore people wont do it);
3) think about the how blogging is evaluated (by the blogger and others–if those that matter don’t care, it wont happen); and
4) does the result of the evaluation help meet the individual’s needs?

Every organisation will be different so some work is required up front to assess the environment. This should be done by those people who need to enhance how knowledge is shared and accessed (ie. the people in the organisation) and not by an outsider (ie.consultant), mainly because there are no right or wrong answers here and the organisation’s decision-makers must use their judgement.

About  Shawn Callahan

Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on:

2 Responses to “Skimming over the organisational issues”

  1. Clive Wilson Says:

    I think the business culture constraints can be significant – for example, the perception within an organisation that if Fred is able to post to a blog, he clearly has too much spare time on his hands and isn’t focusing sufficiently on his “real” work. (And if he isn’t doing that, then maybe he isn’t well-suited for his position? Perhaps it’s something to mention at his next performance review…)
    “Perceived busy-ness” can also be a determinant of one’s place in the corporate pecking order, and as such can work as a disincentive to knowledge-sharing initiatives (and “non-core” activities generally).

  2. James Dellow Says:

    I’ve added a reply to your last comment cross posted to my blog here
    Best Regards,

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