If you’ve been following my twitter stream @IM4WARD you will know that I’ve been following the Enterprise2.0 Conference in Boston very closely. A good summary of the sessions is provided by Bill Ives and by Cecil Dijoux among many others that I will summarize in a separate post.
One of the key questions that comes up in all enterprise2.0 discussions is always around adoption – how does e2.0 get traction within an organization? What are some of the obstacles and how can they be overcome? The standard ‘overcoming’ responses are provided – demonstrate a return on investment, go for low hanging fruit (fix a known issue), change the compensation incentives, have patience and look for small wins, etc.. But the key message is always that the one of the primary roadblock to enterprise 2.0 adoption is the middle manager.
While the business value and return on investment are certainly key factors that have to be addressed, according to some of these articles, fear of loss of control, position, authority, relevancy and job are the primary reason why middle managers are not jumping on board adoption.
Greg Lowe in his blog post Developing the Social Management Team provides another perspective that I found refreshing:
“To be honest, at first, I used to think that Middle Management was the enemy (as depicted in the slide below). But, the more I analyzed the situation, I realized that there are very valid reasons why this group in the organization was not happy and they were completely justified in their thinking. The main reason comes down to focus. As a Manger, Director or Vice President, you are responsible for your team executing, on-time, a set of deliverables. All of these new inputs and information can be a huge distraction. We are totally changing the way communication is being done and information is being shared without giving management the tools and skills necessary to lead and manage in this new paradigm.
Greg goes on to provide suggestions on how to bring middle managers around to adopting 2.0 practices by addressing each of the constraints (real or perceived) a middle manager faces. One in particular caught my attention and that is the issue of compliance.
Compliance is not a feel good activity. It can have serious and sometimes costly repercussions if compliance cannot be demonstrated. Employees resent compliance activities, often seeing it as a waste of time; while managers have to monitor and report on compliance activities. Compliance is the stick while enterprise2.0 is the carrot for managers.
In a web2.0 world, compliance can be a secondary thought and those working in compliance within an organization are not often included as team members in enterprise 2.0 projects. As a result, tools and methods are not developed for these enterprise2.0 projects that would provide the managers with the information they need to meet their compliance obligations.
To increase the speed of adoption, I would suggest including a compliance resource as a full-time team member on any enterprise 2.0 project. This person’s role would be to identify all compliance elements for each initiative and find, with the rest of the team, creative solutions to meeting the initiatives overall objectives.
So is Enterprise2.0 and Compliance environments mutually exclusive? No – it’s just enterprise 2.0:)