24 Nov Why I LOVE Linkedin.
It was a problem in search of a solution.
For Project Managers, the problem ‘bubbles up’ at an awful moment of realisation. The new technology the project is installing and which will rely on collaboration and information sharing to deliver business benefits – is incompatible with your client’s business culture. How could it have come to this and what do you do? Compartmentalise the problem by calling it ‘out of scope’ or tell your client the truth – that their business won’t get a ‘bang for their buck’ from their investment because the culture gap is just too big to cross.
It was during one of those discussions among peers that a ‘cut through’ insight about the problem came from an Enterprise Architect. “Why can’t change and benefits be integrated into enterprise architecture before the project starts, and before the influence of silo thinking and competing mindsets takes hold?
The chain of ideas was continued by a Change Manager and an IT Benefits Manager. “Of course, integrating enterprise architecture and benefits goals would have a deeper and more effective impact on project viability, and it makes a lot of sense to assess cultural compatibility well before the project starts”. This led to a more focussed discussion within the broader peer group about what this approach to change would look like, how it would fit together, how it could reduce risk and whether we could be certain that the problem IT Project Managers agonize over – and which our group had spent the best part of a month talking about – could be eliminated. This in turn led to a realisation that we should develop these ideas further. And so this is what I found myself doing in my spare time, contributing towards developing a better and more viable approach to change management in a project environment.
The discussion did not take place in a workshop or a business strategy meeting.
The Enterprise Architect was in Montreal, Canada, the Change Manager and the Benefits Manager were in Brisbane, Australia.
Other contributors and reviewers were from Canada, United States, South Africa and the Netherlands.
It happened in one of those virtual networking spaces that we are increasingly gravitating towards to meet peers, build networks and collaborate around common interests – the linkedin
group for change management practitioners.
These collaborations are commonplace nowadays. New communities, causes and peer groups are formed everyday because technology enables it. The tools we have at our finger tips are cheap, quick and effective. And we like the speed at which we can connect, review others work, give feedback on ideas and contribute to innovation. What started out as a professional networking space has literally exploded into a place of marketplace of ideas, debate and opportunity.
I started taking cautious steps in this world, which led to more experimentation from increased confidence. Here you interact, share ideas and participate in two-way communication. It takes a leap of faith to do this with people you’ve never met. But my experiences so far have taught me that the bad’s co-exist with the good’s. Communication takes a constant effort, misunderstandings are frequent and disengagement is frustrating. Continued engagement is vital, because without it, people do not share information freely or offer up the ideas needed to drive new thinking about the problems and challenges we face as practitioners.
After each interaction, I resolve to get better at virtual communication. I like being part of this world and am relaxed about where collaboration leads. I am also curious about what it takes to build a cohesive team in cyberspace, a team that is robust enough to work through its creative tension and build the trust needed to keep engaged as volunteers. So I keep engaged – contribute, learn, extend my network and try different things – some work and some don’t. But I know we are a team and I feel confident that our work will contribute something important to the body of change management knowledge.