The next expectations of your workforce


In all of the wide discussion of “business use of social media,” we’ve finally reached a maturation point.  The comparisons with Facebook or even LinkedIn are gone.  We now have some specific terms of success–collaboration, meritocratic contributions, reduction in email–that point directly to productivity gains.  What remains is either to wrestle SharePoint to the ground and bend it to our will, or to actively look for more elegant platforms that sit well on enterprise servers.

McKinsey Quarterly has put out the above video featuring Don Tapscott, who will be part of the World Economic Forum this week and has published an insightful TED book, Radical Openness.  He’s making a career midwifing companies from old information flows and barriers to new knowledge pathways.

Implicit in this analysis is the understanding that your workforce is showing up in your organization with expectations for input, collaboration, and access.  Does your corporate culture encourage those values or thwart them?  And do you understand the changes that will be necessary in traditional, top-down employee communications in order to participate credibly in this new environment?


First, the bad news

Think transparency is easy?  When something goes wrong, does your business culture really encourage you to bring it forward?  It should.  This has long been a tenet of effective business teaming, but a commitment to transparency is usually one of the first casualties in times of overwhelming stress or unmanaged change.

Some great excerpts from “Lessons from the dark side of information use” by Donald Marchand, in The Journal of financial transformation published by the CAPCO Institute:

“Here is a test question: Do people in your company trust each other enough to talk about failures, mistakes, and errors in a constructive manner, free of unfair repercussions? . . .

“Managers who discourage their people from identifying ‘bad news’, punish the bringers of bad tidings, suppress constructive responses to mistakes, errors and failures, stifle opportunities for preventive action or improvements to company performance. . . 

“Transparency is critical for human improvement, whether improving the poor shots in your golf game, or tackling operational or customer service problems.  Managers who cannot hear bad news cannot turn it into good news; they are incapable of learning, and they discourage learning among their employees.”

Turning bad news into good news is NOT spin.  Do you know how to do it?

Full disclosure: CAPCO has been a client.

Image courtesy of njaj /