This past week has presented me with a new direction at work. I have been tapped to lead efforts to bring about a more collaborative working environment. Before this change, I was a willing and eager participant in my company’s Lotus Connections Pilot. Now I am leading efforts of a potentially alternative (potentially complementary) effort altogether. I’ve been thinking and blogging about the change that I believe needs to happen, now I get to lead it.
However, as much as I have been thinking and blogging, nothing has necessarily prepared me for doing. I have spent the last few days locked up in a conference room with my architecture lead brainstorming, wire framing, road mapping and most importantly, breaking down how we work & examining our culture. It was eye-opening. I had never actually given any thought, nevermind analyzed, the way my company (and yours, most likely) goes about doing its business. We’ve got our email (boy, do we have email) and Enterprise Content Management systems and different applications engineers use to make stuff that blows up other stuff, but all these systems are so…what’s the word?…’isolated’ gets close. Using them doesn’t expand my horizons or introduce me to new ideas, ideas that could improve the way I work, make me happier, more productive and make my company a better place to be. I email & IM the people I already know, use the same techniques I’ve always used, get feedback from the same people that always give me feedback. However many times we try to introduce a new tool, it ends up being the same thing with different packaging, never bringing about the desired effect.
This project has forced me to finally put my vision of our workplace down on paper. That turned the light bulb on for me (it was more like someone turning up the dimmer, but very slowly). After I got beyond the tools, I started to notice the differnce in the workplace culture that I was defining. It’s an organization that looks very different from the email based one that I see today. Instead of the isolated application and employee, everything becomes connected. Well, at least the potential is there. It’s then up to you and me to take advantage of that potential, to pull the power out to where we work – at the edge. And once that happens, your organization looks very different, like flat different. And once your organization is flat, the rules change. To what? I don’t know yet. But they change.