Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Carnival of Trust is coming to town


   The more work I do on social capital, social media etc, the clearer I become that trust is at the centre of much of what organisations need to do to perform in these areas.

So I’m delighted that I’ll be hosting the Carnival of Trust early next month.  This is a carnival I’ve been included in before, but this is the first time I’ll be hosting.

In the words of the carnival’s originator, Charles H Green,

“I believe trust is an increasingly important element in a business world and a society that is becoming more dependent on connections, yet more and more removed from the high-touch interpersonal connections of old. A higher-trust society is a society that is personally healthier, and also economically richer. Not to mention probably more peaceful.

My hope and ambition for the carnival is to establish a home base, a center of gravity, for people who are interested in fostering greater trusted relationships in various realms of the world.

While my own material is primarily business-oriented, the Carnival of Trust will be explicitly more broad than business alone. Trust is heavily personal in nature, and I hope the submissions will reflect that—postings that deal with personal trust, business trust, and political trust are welcome, as well as pieces on the nature of trust.”


Previous carnivals this year have been:

The November 2009 Carnival of Trust
Hosted by Jordan Furlong at

The October 2009 Carnival of Trust
Hosted by Scot Herrick at Cube Rules

The September 2009 Carnival of Trust
Hosted by John Caddell at Customers Are Talking

The August 2009 Carnival of Trust
Hosted by David Donoghue at the Chicago IP Litigation Blog.

The July Carnival of Trust
Hosted by Adrian Dayton at Marketing Strategy and the Law.

The June Carnival of Trust
Hosted by Dave Stein at Dave Stein's Blog.

The May Carnival of Trust
Hosted by Victoria Pynchon at Settle It Now

The April Carnival of Trust
Hosted by James Irvine and Tripp Allen at The Egyii Blog

The March Carnival of Trust
Hosted by Beth Robinson at Inventing Elephants

The February Carnival of Trust
Hosted by Ian Brodie at Sales Excellence

The January Carnival of Trust
Hosted by Diane Levin at Mediation Channel


If you want to participate in the carnival being hosted by Social Advantage, send your trust related posts in sometime before Thursday 7th January.  And make sure they’re good! – unlike the HR carnival, there’s a clear editing policy on this one.

The carnival will be live on Social Advantage from Monday 11th.


Technorati Tags: Carnival of Trust,Charles Green,Trusted Advisor,January,2010,trust,blogs


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Saturday, 12 December 2009

Monkeys with Typewriters


Monkey-typing   On Wednesday, I attended the book launch of Jemima Gibbons’ new book on social media, Monkeys with Typewriters.

The book is named after the theoretical monkeys or apes who, given long enough, produce the complete works of Shakespeare, and therefore explain the golden rules of social media:

  1. It’s simple (because monkeys can do it)
  2. It’s fun (why else would monkeys bother)
  3. Its ubiquitous (everywhere you look, there’s another goddamn monkey with a typewriter).


The book is one of the best I’ve read on social media - partly because a lot of Jemima’s experiences resonate for me (I’m one of the people who have never quite managed to get to Tuttle, but I have been a Fellow of the RSA for most of the last 15 years) – but there are other reasons too.

The book is written as a narrative, describing a series of experiences which I think works well.  And it also provides a lot of information, a lot of which is surprisingly current, and quite a bit of which is new for me – and I read a lot about this space.  All the book’s arguments are also very well referenced and supported.

But I’m also impressed because I think the book outlines the the paradigms that come with working with social media very well.

I’m particularly pleased to find that Jemima agrees with my own perspective that we need to focus on people, and what the technology enables people to do, rather than starting from the technology itself.

So, much of the book focuses on the required changes in leadership within a social media enabled environment, ie one that is not about:

  • command and control
  • micro-managing
  • over-structuring.


But instead, is based upon:

  • co-creation
  • passion
  • learning
  • openness
  • listening
  • generosity.


Jemima describes her dream environment as one which looks like the world-wide web (or at least, web 2.0 – Gary Hamel’s argument too):

“Wouldn’t it be great to have a system where people worked together constructively without the need for micro-management?  Where people were passionate about what they did?  Where there was a common understanding of objectives and protocols?  Where people knew who to ask if they wanted advice or where to go if they needed feedback on something?  Where there were numerous experts on hand to give advice for free?  Where people co-operated and shared stuff without arguing, and got rewarded for doing so?  Where people were valued and appreciated by their peers?  An overwhelmingly create environment, where ideas and materials were frequently re-used, re-purposed and mashed together in order to form new, eminently desirable products and services – desirable because it was the consumers themselves who had shaped them?”


I still think we need to take Jemima’s argument regarding people vs technology further however. For me, we need to be much clearer about what we’re trying to create.   Focusing on an environment which is enabled by social technology is still inherently about technology.  We need to go beyond this and think about all the different ways the desired environment can be created.

Even better we can go beyond talking about environment and focus on the outcomes this environment provides us, whether this is customer or employee engagement, knowledge, productivity or connections and relationships – or social capital (which is, in my view, the key outcome from both social technologies and the environment that Jemima describes).

Once we’re clear about the outcomes, we can look at which environments and which technologies or other enablers can best create these. My belief is that this can lead to an even more compelling case for change than the arguments Jemima uses for her very human organisational environment.

But I do think this book is a big step forward (from Andrew McAfee’s ‘not not about the technology’ for instance).


Picture credit: Chris 73

Technorati Tags: Jemima Gibbons,Monkeys with Typewriters,Triarchy Press,social media


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Friday, 4 December 2009

CIPD09: A New Leadership Paradigm (Part 3)


ASDA Leadership  I’ve already posted twice on the last keynote session from this year’s CIPD conference, ‘A New Leadership Paradigm’ (part 1 - the preview and part 2 – the live blog).  I’d now like to summarise my take-aways from this and other sessions at the conference.

First of all, I thought the keynote debate was really well done.  All three speakers clearly had different perspectives, with Sir Christopher Kelly providing a rather more traditional view of leadership to the others.  However, it was still useful to have him included, as I think things are going to take longer to change in the public sector, and his views helped to keep discussion rooted in reality.

And it is also possible to link all three speakers’ perspectives together.  In his presentation with Julie Smith from PepsiCo, Jasvier Bajer explained that the true definition of leadership is ‘the ability to create movement and deliver change’.  And I think all speakers would agree with this.

But I don’t think Kelly’s views expressed the new paradigm (which is probably why he didn’t think there is one).  The future of leadership isn’t just more management; and its not about command and control.  As David Smith stated in his presentation of ASDA’s change story (see slide), tell & do autocracy is already dead.

The paradigm shift, like the broader shift in the organisational people management agenda is about transparency, authenticity and sustainability.  It’s why I like Avolioand Gardner’s description of authentic leaders (provided by Jane Turner, Newcastle Business School in her workshop on internal coaching):

“Those who are deeply aware of how they think and behave -and are perceived by others as being aware of their own and other’s values, knowledge and strengths; confident, hopeful, optimistic, resilient and of high moral character”


This definition really is, I think, at the heart of the new paradigm of leadership.  

  • Transparency – an alignment between real and perceived
  • Authenticity – based on self-awareness
  • Sustainability -confident, hopeful, optimistic, resilient


But I also think there’s one more piece in this – and this is connectivity which I’ve also already posted on as my additional key message from the conference.

In terms of leadership, this area was best addressed at the conference by Emmanuel Gobillot’s presentation of Leadershift:

“To stay relevant leaders will need to move towards Leadership 2.0 – a type of leadership, non-hierarchical in form, that facilitates the collaboration of a self-selected group.  In this new context, the leader is an integral part in the generation of a narrative that builds and sustains this group’s valuable and co-created outcomes.”


In reflecting back on the conference, I’ve been also be drawn to Gautam Ghosh’s recent post on leadership in hyper-linked times.  In his view, the behaviours of leaders must reflect the new tenets of OD:

  1. Openness and Transparency
  2. Conversation (MBWA)`
  3. Content (co-creation of the brand)
  4. Collaboration
  5. Communities (shared interest groups or tribes connecting around various 'social objects’)
  6. Collective Intelligence

Gautam also notes that these behaviours aren’t new.  But put them all together – transparency, authenticity, sustainability and connectivity – and I think you do arrive at something like a new paradigm for leadership.  And although I’ve mainly be posting here on the business use of web 2.0 tools, this new leadership paradigm is a important and integral aspect of gaining Social Advantage too.


Technorati Tags: CIPD,Manchester,New Paradign,Leadership,Leadershift,Leadership 2.0,Emmanuel Gobillot,Gautam Ghosh,hyperlinked times


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Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Looking back to December 2008


   You may also be interested in these posts from the end of last year:


Or even the year before?


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Picture credit: Matthew Jordan

Technorati Tags: Social capital,competitive advantage,business

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

More from the CIPD conference – developing a culture of…


Lousy T shirt   There were quite a few sessions at the conference about developing a culture of something, eg of:

  • Coaching (Jane Turner, Newcastle Business School)
  • High performance (David Smith, ex-ASDA)
  • Homogeneity in a global context (Mark Adams, Abbey / Santander)
  • Innovation (Jaideep Prabhu, University of Cambridge)
  • Integrity (Roger Steare, Cass Business School)
  • Leadership (Anete Jajkowska, Microsoft)
  • Resilience (Rebecca McIntosh and Claire Jelley, also at the University of Cambridge, but internal this time).


However, there wasn’t any linking between sessions these even thought the actions organisations need to take to develop each one of these cultures are largely the same thing!

Basically, there are two or three key steps:


1.    Decide what / how you want to be

Organisations can’t do everything, so the key question is which of the capabilities from the above list are most important for you?  Having a clear BHAG or mojo will make this easier for you.

Describe the required capability in detail – what behaviours and actions will you expect to see when this capability is in place?  This becomes what McIntosh and Jelley referred to as their North Star.

This is, of course, where things between each of the culture types are a bit different, and where some knowledge of the particular type of culture, and what attributes / behaviours support it, is required.

For a culture of innovation for example, Jaideep Prabhu suggests that organisations need three particular attitudes:

  • Future market focus
  • Willingness to cannibalise
  • Tolerance for risk.


Once these three things are in place, innovation should follow.

Actually, I think there’s probably a bit more too it than this ( read my post on Hal Gregersen’s presentation, and listen to the last Talking HR show where I discussed developing innovative cultures with MOK from the Innovation Beehive).


2.   Decide on the actions which are going to lead to the required attitudes (and them do them)

For innovation, Prabhu suggests the following:

  • Product champions
  • Asymmetric incentives
  • Internal markets.


Once again, I think it’s a little more complicated that this!  In fact, it’s the actions Prabhu doesn’t mention, that are common to the development of all these different types of culture that are the most important.

So, what are these?


Hard issues

Well, there are a few ‘hard’ issues, such as getting your ducks in a row, ie linking all of your HR and management activities to the required capability, and then monitoring these activities (see Microsoft’s system model, and people scorecard):





You might even want to produce a few T-shirts?


Soft issues

But the soft areas are the harder ones (if you see what I mean).

David Smith did a good job of describing some of these in connection with ASDA’s journey:

  • Hire for attitude
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate
  • Listening
  • Engaging style of management and leadership
  • Remove your underperfomers, push your talent
  • Recognition
  • Fun / buzz and a sense of community.


But I think Roger Steare captured what’s at the heart of changing these soft issues even more accurately.  For him, good behaviour and culture is when:

  • People stop and think
  • People talk about shared values
  • People unite around a common purpose
  • People act fairly for the common good.


Out of these, it’s talking (- particularly about what’s important - see Emmanuel Gobillot’s ‘narratives’) which is at the hear of culture change.  There was a good post on this in Harvard Business / Peter Bregman’s blog How We Work, this Summer.  This put culture change down to the way we tell stories:

"You change a culture with stories. Right now your stories are about how hard you work people. Like the woman you forced to work on her wedding day. You may not be proud of it, but it's the story you tell. That story conveys your culture simply and reliably. And I'm certain you're not the only one who tells it. You can be sure the bride tells it. And all her friends. If you want to change the culture, you have to change the stories.

I told him not to change the performance review system, the rewards packages, the training programs. Don't change anything. Not yet anyway. For now, just change the stories. For a while there will be a disconnect between the new stories and the entrenched systems promoting the old culture. And that disconnect will create tension. Tension that can be harnessed to create mechanisms to support the new stories.”


It emphasises, I think, that much of what we mean when we talk about culture change is actually social capital (which I define as the value of the connections, relationships and conversations taking place between people in an organisation).

And which brings us straight back to the importance of Connectivity again!


Technorati Tags: Culture,coaching,high performance,global,innovation,integrity,leadership,Jane Turner,Newcastle Business School,David Smith,ASDA,Mark Adams,Abbey,Santander,Jaideep Prabhu,Roger Steare,Anete Jajkowska,Microsoft,Rebecca McIntosh,Claire Jelley,Peter Bregman,CIPD,Manchester

Cross posted from Strategic HCM.


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Sunday, 22 November 2009

CIPD conference summary: Connectivity


   Jackie Orme didn’t include this as a theme, but it was certainly one for me.  And I think it builds upon the previous three: transparency, authenticity and sustainability.  And behind this is the fact that we live in a social world – and this came through strongly too:

  • In ‘Leadershift’, Emmanuel Gobillot suggested that leadership needs to be connected
  • In ‘The Future of Work and Organisations’, Richard Worsley from the Tomorrow Project noted that knowledge is a social activity
  • In ‘Harnessing the Power of Social Media’, Nick Shackleton-Jones explained that learning is largely social too (that information comes with emotional tags)
  • And in ‘Coaching to build Innovative Mindsets’, Nick Jankel from wecreate positioned social collaboration as a basis for innovation.


Social connecting also came up in presentations from:

  • Callum Petrie from Philips Electronics, where connecting with employees is seen as a basis for performance (see slide)
  • Kathryn Pritchard and Judy Noonan from iris, for similar reasons
  • Jacky Simmons from TUI, where interrelating is positioned as the centrepiece of an approach to developing organisational resilience.  Interrelating consists of:
    • Connecting across the organisation through the development of strong networks
    • Collaborating by developing shared plans, cooperating and sharing knowledge.


But probably the most powerful argument for improving connectivity was provided by Andrew Kakabadse from Cranfield in his presentation on the divisions between members of top teams.

Kakabadse’s research suggests that banks knew about the credit problems 15 months before the financial meltdown, but that division, denial and paralysis had become the cultural norm.  More broadly, he suggests that Boards often share few penetrating insights and have little shared view of differentiation and competitive advantage.

If this is the case, how likely will it be that employees will all share one common view?


So what can organisations do to develop greater connectivity and improve collaboration?  I’ve already posted on the role of social media, but there are many other opportunities too.  In his session on organisation design, Andrew Campbell from Ashridge suggested that organisations need to guard against these blockages on collaboration:

  • Unclear objectives
  • Differing objectives or incentives
  • Competition for money, people, promotion, praise
  • Unclear authorities
  • Transfer prices
  • Physical or cultural distances
  • Interfering bosses
  • Control freeks or secrecy.


And in her workshop on ‘Facilitating OD Interventions’, Sylvia Baumgartner suggested that we need to influence group dynamics, particularly as work becomes increasingly situational and less routine.  Appropriate OD interventions include:

  • Diagnostic activities
  • Team-building activities
  • Survey feedback activities
  • Education and training activities
  • Structuring activities
  • Process Consultation activities
  • Third-party mediation activities
  • Competency development
  • Coaching and counselling
  • Life and Career Planning activities
  • Planning and Goal Setting activities
  • Strategic Management activities
  • Organisational Transformation activities
  • Organisational Effectiveness
  • TQM (Total Quality Management)
  • Conversations…..


All of the above issues and activities are things that I deal with on this and my other blog, Strategic HCM.

It’s why I was rather critical of the session on Next Generation HR.  The rise of connectivity is leading to much bigger changes that those identified there.

These include the social business (enabling organisations to connect with their people) and social HR  / HR 2.0 (the move to facilitating rather than managing HR outcomes).

And it’s also why I was delighted with Shaa Wasmund’s description of me in her tweet:

Shaa Wasmund tweet


(This post is cross posted from Strategic HCM.)

Technorati Tags: Emmanuel Gobillot,Richard Worsley,Nick Shackleton-Jones,Nick Jankel,Callum Petrie,Philips,Kathryn Pritchard,Judy Noonan,iris,Jacky Simmons,TUI,Andrew Kakabadse,Andrew Campbell,Sylvia Baumgartner,collaboration,social


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Thursday, 19 November 2009

CIPD09: A New Leadership Paradigm (Part 2)


   Live blog from the CIPD 2009 conference final panel keynote:




And it’s a wrap!


This post has been cross-posted from Strategic HCM.  Also Also see part 1 of this post there.


Technorati Tags: Christopher Kelly,Steve Easterbrook,Shaa Wasmund,John Humphrys,Leadership,CIPD,Manchester


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CIPD09: A New Leadership Paradigm


   I enjoyed day 2 of the CIPD Conference more than day 1 (I met some people who thought the reverse, so of course it’s a personal thing, partly depending upon which sessions you attend, and a whole heap of other things as well).  I particularly enjoyed Nick Baylis on ‘the Rough Guide to Happiness’ and Sarah Redshaw from Unilever on ‘Building Transformation through Engagement’.  I’ve not blogged on these sessions, but you can see plenty of tweets from me and others on Twitter, using the hashtag #CIPD09 (if you don’t know what this means, you really should you know).

The highlight from today should be the end of day keynote, ‘a New Leadership Paradigm’.  The outline certainly looks interesting (and just seeing John Humphrys live should be good):


Public respect for leaders has hit an all time low. The exposed inadequacy of those in leadership positions has brought current thinking on leadership and the established models into question.

Today, it seems that there is a substantial lack of ‘real’ and successful leaders equipped with both the resilience and capability to deal with the complexity and pressures of the ever changing global market. So are we now at a cross roads? Is this an ideal opportunity to challenge the current view of what it takes to be a good leader and to establish what behaviours and competences will be needed to lead organisations and societies into our uncertain future?

Join us to debate:

  • Why and how have traditional models failed?
  • How can we learn from the past and build on its successes?
  • How can we re-establish leadership credibility?
  • What skills and attributes will successful leaders of the future need?



I’ll be live blogging from the session, but here are a few thoughts to warm-things up.

Firstly, I think it is a really big and important question.  I do think existing leadership is failing.  Look at Hay’s stats from yesterday, or simply the end results (the recession we’re now in).  And we know that leadership accounts for a significant part of this (Jim Collins’ point that leaders can destroy organisations on their own).

I agree that resilience and capability are part of what needs to be fixed.  But I think attitudes need changing too.  We need to look again at what we mean by leadership and change the way that leaders lead.

And we’ve had a few pointers during the conference, particularly from Jim Collins on Level 5 leadership, and the need for leaders to act through others to create greatness; and Emmanuel Gobillot on the connected leader in his session on Leadershift.

Leaders may have a particular role but they achieve success through their community.

It seems to be a view that’s taking off.

I was talking about this with Jonathan Austin at the Best Companies exhibition stand yesterday too.  He had just attended a session with Edgar Schein where Schein had been talking about leaders as ‘humble engineers’ who need to work through others to make their organisations work.  And I’ve already posted on Social Advantage on Henry Mintzberg’s concept of Communityship.

Emphasising that companies are not collectives of human resources, but communities of human beings, Mintzberg suggests that traditional views of leadership isolate people in leadership positions, thereby undermining a sense of community in organisations.  He believes leadership and communityship go hand-in-hand: "A community leader is personally engaged in order to engage others, so that anyone and everyone can exercise initiative".

And it’s by developing this sense of community that individuals become bound to each other and start to want to focus on developing the productivity of their organisation as a whole, rather than acting purely out of self-interest.


That’d be the basis of my answer if I was on the stage today.  And it’s also one of the things I write about at my other blog, Social Advantage, and you might want to check over there.

Join me for the live blog if you can!


This post is cross posted from Strategic HCM.

Technorati Tags: CIPD,Manchester,New Paradigm,Leadership,John Humphrys,Jim Collins,Level 5,Emmanuel Gobillot,Leadershift,Edgar Schein,Humble Engineer,Henry Mintzberg,Communityship,Jonathan Austin,best Companies


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Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Using social media at CIPD09


My favourite session yesterday was Nick Shackleton-Jones (@shackletonjones) on the use of social media supporting online learning at the BBC.  I was going to blog on this, but Rob Moss from Personnel Today got their first, so see his summary on this.

Instead, I thought I’d write about the use of social media at the CIPD conference itself.

There have been quite a few of us blogging and tweeting, and in many ways, this has led to the development of a small community, sharing experiences and learning with everyone else through social media, but also face-to-face between ourselves.   At times, it’s felt like a conference within a conference.

So, thanks for a great conference everybody!

Martin Couzins (@martincouzins) and Rob Moss (@robmoss) plus Kat Baker and Louisa Peacock from Personnel Today / XpertHR (@PersonnelToday  / @XpertHR / @HRSpace), all busy in the Press Office:



Charlie Duff (@charlie_elise) from HR Zone (@HRZone) :


Adrienne Fox (@foxlondon)writing for HR Magazine (US):


Jennifer Liston-Smith (@listonsmith) writing for the BPS:


Mike Morrison from RapidBI (@rapidbi) on the right, also with Nick Spindler from Nationwide:

(Check our Mike’s notes from the conference at


Steve Bridger (@stevebridger) from CIPD Communities (@CIPDcommunities):



Last night, we met up at the CIPD’s tweet-up.

Julia (Twitter username pending!):


Mike (@rapidbi) with Klothilde (@kganzer):


Steve and David (sharing @RightwayCWS) with Irsa (username pending)


The CIPD’s Natalia (@NAlexandrou or @CIPD_Events) with Charlie (@charlie_elise or @HRZone) and Steve (@stevebridger or @CIPDcommunities):



Well done to the CIPD for raising the role of social media this year.  There’s still a way to go, but it’s been a very good start.


A few other non-Twitter peeps (I won’t say ‘muggles’ again!).

Perry Timms from the BIG Lottery Fund before his session ‘Communicating with Impact’:


Former colleague, Alison Crossley:


The Elsevier stand – my book’s just about visible on the back shelf:




Technorati Tags: Social media,social networking,web 2.0,HR,learning,CIPD,Manchester,Nick Shackleton-Jones,BBC

Cross-posted from my Strategic HCM blog.


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Monday, 16 November 2009

HR & social media workshops


HR Society logo   I’m doing quite a few workshops on HR’s use of social media over the next few months.

One session I’ve just agreed on is going to be with the HR Society (not till March though).

I’m going to be looking at the 3 parts of the agenda I believe are important:

  • The Social business – what this is, and why it’s a great opportunity for HR
  • Social HR – how HR can use social media tools to support recruitment, learning etc.
  • Social media practice – an experiential session ensuring all participants have some personal understanding of how they might use the tools themselves.


If you’re a member, do ensure you’ll come along, and if not join! – or ask me to do a session just for you and your organisation etc.


Technorati Tags: Social media,web 2.0,social networking,social business,enterprise 2.0,workshop,training,development,HR,HR 2.0,HR Society


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Monday, 9 November 2009

Enterprise 2.0 conference: Connecting the Dots


   In his comment to my last but one post, reviewing Andrew McAfee’s book and his presentation at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in San Francisco, Mike Ricard, Enterprise 2.0 Community Manager at Reed Elsevier responds to my view that Enterprise 2.0 needs to be much broader than IT by stating:

“Those tools are social enablers. The alternative I have seen HR suggest are people networking 'get togethers'. That's OK if you are in the same country and you can manage to coordinate your schedules, but what if you are not and you can't? And often it is the same A-types who dominate the proceedings.”


I have responded that:

“I don't mean to trash web 2.0. I agree it an absolutely key social enabler. But I think there are more... and that HR can do much more than organise get-togethers too.”


I hope to take this argument to the next Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston next Summer.  I’ve submitted my proposal (the first one on the site) and you’ll have the opportunity to vote for it from early next year.

Here’s the text:


Connecting the Dots to Competitive Advantage

Session Description

Enterprise 2.0 can increase efficiencies and help meet business objectives but it can also generate competitive advantage. To create higher levels of value, the use of social technologies needs to be linked to other organizational enablers, eg HR practices, OD interventions, facilities design etc. This session will show how.


Professional Biography

Jon Ingham consults with organizations to help them develop human and social capital as a key source of competitive advantage.

He generally works with employers that already have sound management approaches and helps them extend their agendas to gain further improvements in the capabilities and engagement of their people, and the effectiveness of their organizations. He is based in the UK but works on a global basis.

Jon also works as a researcher, speaker, trainer and writer. He has recently spoken in the US, Europe,Africa, the Middle East and Asia. He has also lectured in strategic management, change management and human resources on executive MBA courses in both West and East Europe.

Jon started his career in Engineering, then spent six years working in IT before moving into Change Management where he has spent most of his career. He has also worked internationally as an HR Director.

Jon has a BA in Psychology, a Masters in Engineering and an MBA. He is a Certified Management Consultant, a member of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and its occupational psychology division, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA).


Company Background

Strategic Dynamics Consultancy Services Ltd is a human capital and change management consultancy with a difference. What makes us unique are our beliefs that:

  • People are a key source of innovation and competitive advantage - we use this insight to help transform people and organisational capability
  • People are the focus of effective change – we work with, not against, the quirks of human spirit and the dynamics of human behaviour
  • People work best in open, challenging, collaborative relationships – our consultancy services are based on this approach.


The consultancy is led by Jon Ingham, an experienced business manager and consultant, and is supported by a small team of employed and associate consultants.


Technorati Tags: Enterprise 2.0,conference,Boston Consulting Group,2010


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Friday, 6 November 2009

Andrew McAfee on measuring social media (and ROI)


money   The other section of his book that I think McAfee has written very well is the one on measurement.

I haven’t always been a fan of his approach on measurement which, like his general conceptualisation of Enterprise 2.0, seems to me to focus too much on activities (use of web 2.0 tools) and business benefits with very little focus on the intermediary stage of outcomes (social capital) which I consider to be the most important aspect of this field.  See for example this quote from one of his blog posts:

Why not measure instead what we’re really interested in –  innovativeness, productivity, service levels, etc.?  For one thing, they can be hard to measure… So I advocate measuring and evaluating people based on their contributions to E2.0, and have some faith that E2.0 helps with innovation, productivity, service, etc..”


However I do like the way that, in the book, McAfee suggests organisations should measure progress, not ROI:

“It’s possible to quantify many things about an Enterprise 2.0 initiative: the number of blog posts and comments; the number of wiki edits, editors and new pages; the population of tags created; the volume of trades and traders in prediction markets; the number of members in a technology-facilitated social network and the volume of updates they share with one another; the popularity of all these ESSPs as measured by the number of times they’re viewed; and so on.

It’s also both possible and smart to collect case studies; anecdotes, and examples over the course of the effort to demonstrate the values of ESSPs.

I do not, however, advocate that decision makers should ask for quantitative ROI analyses, either before approving an Enterprise 2.0 effort or to assess its progress.”


To support this view, McAfee includes a quote from Kaplan and Norton that I also include in my own book (p145) to explain the same point:

“Improvements in intangible assets affect financial outcomes through chains of cause-and-effect relationships.”


These relationships mean that valuing benefits is always going to incur “estimates, at worst pure speculation”, particularly in separating impacts from “contemporaneous individual-and organisation-level changes”.

McAfee recommends that instead, Enterprise 2.0 advocates put together a business case that has three main elements:

Stages in my value chain McAfee elements
Input “Cost and time lines: The cost portion of the cost-benefit analysis.”
Activity “Technology footprint: A technology’s footprint is its geographic, divisional, and / or functional reach.”

“Benefits expected: When describing benefits, it’s often useful to include short case studies or examples of the results of other ESSP deployments.”


McAfee concludes:

“A discussion of whether it’s worthwhile to pursue Enterprise 2.0 should revolve around whether these benefits are worth the cost, not whether the ROI figure for the project clears some hurdle rate.  I have never spoken with a leader or participant in a health Enterprise 2.0 initiative who wishes that she had calculated an ROI figure, whereas I have spoken with many people who have described their ROI exercises as unproductive uses of time and effort.”


I agree 100% with the conclusion, although I retain my concerns about not splitting out Outcomes and Business Impacts to make these benefits clearer still.


Photo credit: At.morey.tota

Technorati Tags: Andrew McAfee,Enterprise 2.0,measurement,ROI


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Thursday, 5 November 2009

Andrew McAfee: Enterprise 2.0 (beta)


McAfee  I’ve been following proceedings at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in San Francisco this week (and wishing I was there – or actually anywhere but here given the weather at the moment).

And I’ve also been reading the rest of Andrew McAfee’s book on Enterprise 2.0 (McAfee’s presentation at the conference is available on E2TV).


What I like about the book:

The technology

I really like McAfee’s explanation of the technology and its uses.  As a regular reader of his blog, there’s a not a lot new here for me, but it’s still interesting stuff.

And that’s it on that - I’m going to move on because McAfee’s views on the technology aren’t something I’d want to criticise either positively or negatively as he clearly knows an awful lot more about all of this than me.


Adoption of the technology

And in any case, my favourite sections of the book are those chapters (6,7 and 8) at the end of the book dealing with adoption of web 2.0 tools (ESSPs: emergent social software platforms):

“I’ve noticed that concerns around Enterprise 2.0 fall into two broad categories: fears that people won’t use the newly available ESSPs , and fear that they will.  The latter, which stem from the lack of upfront control common to ESSPs, tend to crop up first.  When first exposed to these technologies, business decision makers voice concerns about what happens when direct control is surrendered and many people can freely contribute to information platforms.  The scenario of broad participation in these platforms behind the firewall gives rise to a consistent set of worrying questions:

  • What if employees use their internal blogs to post hate speech or pornography, or to harass a coworker?
  • What if blogs are used to denigrate the company itself, air dirty laundry, or talk about how misguided its leadership and strategy are?"
  • etc (it’s a good, and quite a long list!)


However, McAfee notes that whilst he deliberately looks for horror stories, he has yet to find any that make him question whether the risks associated with web 2.0 tools outweigh the benefits.

The risks are normally mitigated by:

  • Comments being attributable
  • Self-policing
  • Role modelling and intervention by formal leaders
  • Most people knowing how to act professionally, including when they’re online.


Behavioural problems in adoption

The second of McAfee’s concerns seem more appropriate.  Take-up of web 2.0 tools is not always fast and spontaneous:

“It’s easy to be impressed by the large, dynamic, and vibrant Web 2.0 communities on the Internet and so to overlook the fact that they’re actually quite tiny when expressed as a percentage of all Internet users.  A key challenge, then, for all Enterprise 2.0 advocates is… to understand why the ‘ ambient percentage’ of contributors to organizational ESSPs isn’t higher.

  • Are the technologies themselves too primitive, or are they difficult to learn and use?
  • Do some managers in an organization actually act to block Enterprise 2.0, because they don’t want information to flow more freely?
  • Or are the real roadblocks internal, rooted somewhere in the heads of individuals [users]?”


McAfee reports that the main barrier isn’t technology.  And it’s not managers (other than as another category of user) – something that surprised him (and me).  It is getting people to change the way they work, and “their choices, biases and endowments”.  This is hard, and therefore:

“Many organizations, especially larger ones, have found that ESSPs remain a niche technology even well after their introduction, used by only a relatively small portion of the workforce, and lagging far behind the universal deployment of older channel technologies like e-mail.”


What I like less

The starting point

The first thing I’m less positive about is McAfee’s answer to the key question that organisations ask: “how should we start?”.

“I respond by asking them to talk a bit more about what they mean by Enterprise 2.0 and by introducing the concepts of the tie strength bull’s-eye and the set of possible benefits.  I have found that these frameworks help focus the discussion about ESSPs for the enterprise in productive ways.”


Now, I do like McAfee’s discussion of social ties, but I don’t like the way he allocates different web 2.0 technologies, and his case studies, with the different types of tie.

The choice of application is about purpose (connecting / collecting) not context (tie strength)

(The main difference between the VistaPrint and Serena Software examples isn’t one of tie strength.  To me, the difference is between connecting (people) and collecting (knowledge).  Wikis are for collecting (Vistaprint) and social networks are for connecting (Serena).)

Purpose becomes clear if organisations answer their question using my model instead of McAfee’s (see this post or the slides from my recent Social Media in Business presentation).


It’s not not about being social

I’m cheating here, as this comment is about McAfee’s Enterprise 2.0 conference presentation rather than the book, but I do disagree with him that there is danger in the word ‘social’.

I’ve already dealt with this, so check out this post for my thoughts on this.


It’s not not not (not?) about technology

But my biggest concern is that I still think McAfee’s focus on technology in Enterprise 2.0’s is too heavy (particularly given his comments on the limited take-up in many organisations).

MacAfee seems to recognise this, explaining that Enterprise 2.0 is not primarily a technological phenomenon. 

But then he still says that Enterprise 2.0 is the phenomenon that occurs when organisations adopt the tools and approaches of Web 2.0.  If that’s not putting IT at the heart of his definition, I don’t know what is!


And this leads us to the central problem with Enterprise 2.0 which is that it’s still IT which is making all the running in this field.

Why is it that it’s someone from IT’s who has written the standard text on something that’s basically about behavioural change.

Why isn’t someone from HR writing this.  Oh wait, they are!  And I hope to start sharing some drafts of it with you in a couple of month’s time.


Also see:


Photo credit: Alex Dunne

Technorati Tags: Andrew McAfee,Enterprise 2.0,book,conferences,#e20conf


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Sunday, 1 November 2009

Looking back to November 2008


  You may also be interested in these posts from the end of last year:


Or even the year before?


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Saturday, 31 October 2009

From human to social capital


I’ve got an article, ‘Building Human into Social Capital’ in the new issue of Strategic HR Review.

This is an excerpt:


Building social capital

But what about social capital? This is another outcome and refers to the connections, relationships and conversations between people working in an organization. The differences between this and both human and organizational capital are important, as each need developing in different ways.

Social capital is developed by paying attention to how people are relating to each other – to the spaces between people on the organization chart. However, social capital is highly intangible and the links between it and the activities that develop it are complex and distant in time and space. It is not something that is easy to measure or develop and, because of this, it tends to get ignored.

However, the point of performance in most organizations is the team, not the individual. So it is social capital, rather than human capital, that is the greatest enabler for competitive success. Consider these two examples to illustrate its role:

  1. Developing a culture of innovation. Changing culture depends on having a big idea and aligning everyone in an organization around it. However, this is not just about behavioral and attitudinal change. Encouraging people to be more innovative is also about helping them create new types of meaning about their work – and meaning is established through conversations with other people. So if you change the conversations (part of the social capital), you change the meanings and, therefore, the culture too.
  2. Knowledge management. Many businesses have tried to manage the explicit knowledge residing in their databases but a lot of these organizations are now realizing that much more important is the tacit knowledge in their peoples’ heads. Knowledge management in this paradigm is about connecting the right people and enabling them to participate in effective conversations (social capital again) to share and build on the knowledge that exists.


See the journal for more from the article (or keep tuned to this blog for more of the same).


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Friday, 23 October 2009

My Social Media in Business presentation


Social media: First Violin (not the whole Orchestra!)

This is the presentation I gave at the Social Media in Business conference earlier today.

Jon Ingham Smib Presentation
View more documents from Jon Ingham.


The key points are that:

  • Organisations create value (and drive competitiveness) through social media by focusing on capability, particularly social and relational / customer capital
    • Not by focusing on the technology
    • Not by focusing on business results
      • Saying “we need to think about the behaviours resulting from the technology” is still focusing on the technology!


  • We need to be able to articulate the type of capability we want to create (ie what are the groups, connections, relationships, behaviours, conversations etc)
  • Once we have done this, we should be able to look forwards in the strategy map / value chain to estimate the business impacts of having this capability
  • And look backwards to identify the organisational processes that can be used to create the required capability (and which may, sometimes, be supported by social media).


Although the afternoon sessions was designed to to focus on measurement, I didn’t get time to do talk about this – or I think really, I forgot – it would have only take another few seconds to have said:

“Measurement is easy – it’s setting objectives (articulating the type of capability and identifying the most appropriate processes, tools and interventions) that’s hard”!


And ROI is just a calculation based on the Investment and Impact stages of the value chain.


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Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Social Media in Business interview


I’ve been interviewed by Benjamin Ellis in preparation for Friday’s Social Media in Business conference:




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  • Thursday, 15 October 2009

    Visa Europe: What do you want to be when you grow up?


      Did you get through yesterday’s rather monster ‘HR in the Social Business’ carnival?  Well, apologies, but I think this is going to be an even longer post… (it’s well worth reading though!)


    I recently attended a great event, ‘Delivering Outstanding Performance’, organised by Michelle Lawton from Consult HR and ‘MOK’ from The Innovation Beehive.

    Opening the event, MOK suggested that to contribute to their employers’ success, people need to be clear about what they want to be, who they are, and how that fits with their organisation.

    We then had a presentation from Derrick Ahlfeldt, SVP HRM at Visa Europe with a case study from his organisation that demonstrated these points. In fact, Derrick’s story provided a great demonstration of much of what I’ve been blogging about here over the last couple of years too.

    So I’ve gone a bit to town in describing Derrick’s presentation – and have also provided some notes / links to previous thoughts that support and occasionally challenge some of this case study:


    Visa Europe story

    My perspectives (NOT Derrick’s necessarily!)

    As an association, Visa Europe is about developing the whole market (the European credit card business) through collaboration.

    By 2004, following a major restructuring and re-engineering, people had initiative fatigue. There was a need to re-engage people and gain additional discretionary contribution.

    Since then, the company has been working to become a ‘Peak Performing Organisation’.

    Derrick didn’t present it like this, but I’d suggest that collaboration is Visa Europe’s mojo. External collaboration is clearly critical to the company’s success and I think they understand (implicitly at least) that because of this, internal collaboration is equally as important.

    A major part of this shift has been creating an environment in which people are put at the centre of the organisation – an environment in which people don’t feel they are ‘being done to’, but are ‘doing it for themselves’ – ‘making ownership and accountability personal’.

    Visa Europe has clearly been ‘putting human capital first’ – treating people as providers of critical human capital rather than simply (human) resources (my Strategic HCM blog is all about putting people and human capital first).

    This is absolutely appropriate for an organisation whose mojo is about collaboration as people will need to take accountability in order to trust each other in order to support collaboration (the other way of saying this is that building human capital is a pre-requisite for effective development of social capital… - see below).

    Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saachi and Saachi, suggests that a ‘Peak Performing Organisation’ has a ‘sense of family’ within the team. This has been another part of Visa Europe’s recent shift.

    Visa Europe has also been developing social capital around a sense of family. Again, this is absolutely appropriate for an organisation whose mojo is about collaboration (my Social Advantage blog is all about developing the right social capital to support an organisation’s mojo).

    This shift has been supported by documenting:

    · An inspirational dream (“to be the world’s most trusted company”)

    · Shared spirit (“what makes Visa Europe different to other organisations?” eg competitive yet collaborative, trusted, multi-cultural family)

    · A common set of beliefs (eg empowering and investing in the individual, nurturing the dynamics and diversity of the Visa family)

    · The “Greatest Imaginable Challenge” (an extraordinary stretch target which is unique to the organisation and inspiring to its people)

    · Focus

    It took over a year to “wordsmith” this document in order to ensure that everyone was comfortable with it.

    I think this process demonstrates the need to develop a solid push behind whatever a company is trying to do (whether this is articulated through a BHAG, mojo or something else) as a way of translating this intent into organisational capability.

    I particularly like the way that Visa Europe’s shared spirit and common beliefs blend human and social capital (competitive yet collaborative, individual and family).

    I presume the “Greatest Imaginable Challenge” which Derrick didn’t want to discuss is Visa Europe’s BHAG. But note that this is developed from the mojo (an inside-out approach) rather than the other way around.

    I also think Derrick probably under-sold the work he and his team did to socialise this document – in my experience, the process of creating a joint ‘vision’ for the organisation is more important than the document it produces. It’s about creating a shared mindset, rather than a wordsmithed document!

    The ‘Peak Performing Organisation’ programme

    My perspectives

    The programme currently consists of two phases:


    Phase 1 - Individual

    Visa Europe has made participation in this phase of the ongoing programme voluntary in order to create a different dynamic from the past.

    This phase consists of:

    · Plenary introduction sessions (in the first year of the programme, Visa Europe ran three events, each with 150 people, which was helpful in getting the programme started – they now run just four smaller sessions per year)

    · Three small group sessions (6-8 people) facilitated by an inspirational player (someone who has “been there and got the T-shirt”)

    · Development and communication of a personal values-story, identification of implications and creation of an action plan


    The key questions that individuals consider in this values story are:

    · Given you are this person and these are your skills and talents, what can you bring to this organisation?

    · How does this link? (are you doing what you wanted to do when you grow up?)

    · Are you in the right job and the right organisation?


    (A volunteer kindly described for us his story – including his ‘home me’ and his ‘CV me’ – explaining that once he had identified his talents from this story and discussed this with his group, his ‘CV me’ became the ‘real me’ – the distinction was removed:

    “I’m now more passionate and enthusiastic for everything I do in life directed to what I’m good at and would like to do anyway.”)

    I think this phase of the programme provides a really nice (whoops – sorry MOK) explanation of a human capital vs a human resources approach.

    Ie the phase is about employees as individuals, not the business. However, there is a limit to this.

    Derrick was keen to stress that employee empowerment should not lead to organisational chaos – employees still need to do what the organisation needs them to:

    “It’s about understanding what the opportunities are and trying to do more of what they want within their existing or another role”


    (Or as MOK described it, it’s about “total freedom in a gilded cage”.)

    I’d suggest the next stage might be to open the door of the cage and see what happens…


    The phase also starts to develop social capital too (via sharing values stories within the team).

    There are some really good examples (eg Herman Miller) where sharing this type of information has had a very powerful team boosting effect.

    Phase 2 – Team

    In this phase, a whole team is taken away to consider:

    · Alignment – the team purpose, customer dreams and nightmares:

    o The team as a whole considers what they want to achieve

    o They then get some customers in to describe what keeps them awake at night

    o The team discusses what it wants to achieve for its customers


    · Values – realigning purpose based on customer input

    · Implications – barriers and challenges for action planning


    Another good approach – this time to develop social capital. But could it be even more strongly based upon the existing capabilities of the team (what the team can do rather than what customers currently need)?

    The results

    My perspectives


    People have generally been very positive about the change. However, disbelievers are tolerated as long as they do the job they are expected to do. And some people have left the organisation.

    I think people are always going to leave organisations during a transformation like this. And if they’ve left with a better perspective of whom they are and where they should be, this can only be a good thing for them, and is probably a good thing for the organisation too. If they’ve left because they’ve found the whole thing a bit too ‘fluffy’ then I think that’s a shame for them.

    But I’m convinced that doing this sort of thing will gradually become part of everyone’s normal expectations.

    Since 2004,

    · Survey completion rates have increased from 83% to 96%

    · Overall engagement has increased from 72 to 90%

    · External customer satisfaction has increased from 6.8 to 8.1


    There are other positive statistics too, but what the Chief Executive says is also important are the stories and what he’s seeing in the organisation.

    The CEO’s focus on both quantitative and qualitative evidence is totally appropriate. Not everything that’s important can be measured, and I think this applies particularly to organisational capability, ie to both human and social capital. However, clearly when something important can be measured, it makes sense to measure it.

    And what’s behind Visa Europe’s success? I’ve discussed the role of mojo, organisational capability / human and social capital and making a solid investment behind this. The other two aspects that I believe are particularly important are:

    · Alignment – between each of these different concepts and Visa Europe’s programmes and practices

    · Best fit – the things that Visa Europe has been doing won’t apply for all organisations, but they apply for this organisation, with its focus on trust and collaboration, superbly well.


    So the message isn’t do what Visa Europe’s done. It’s applying the same level of insight and sharpness to your own organisation. And if you do this, you should gain the same levels of Human and Social Advantage too.



    Phase 3?

    We didn’t talk about this at all, but I’d suggest Visa Europe’s next step is towards even greater liberation of individual employees and of teams.

    Derrick explained that as a result of the first two phases, Visa Europe is now confident that every person and every decision is linked with a golden thread to the organisation vision.

    That’s great, but it still sounds rather too top-down?

    I agree that they do need to manage performance against the organisation’s vision and objectives (top-down) but they would also benefit from taking ever greater advantage of the potential residing in each of the company’s employees – leading performance instead of just managing it (I’ll be talking about this in Greece next week) – ie bottom-up.

    At the team-level, I’d suggest that Visa Europe continue to build social capital – perhaps by emphasising links across teams (bridging capital) as well as within the teams (bonding capital).

    So I’d suggest they look at different opportunities that will help them do this – recognising that these may range from organisation development to social media; social events to reward practices; and social network analysis to facilities design.


    Note - and I’ve emphasised this quite a few times - that the ‘social business’ (if this is what Visa Europe is) isn’t just about the use of social media.


    So, for example, Michelle described a nice example from the BBC where people have been given the opportunity to go and experience different areas of the organisation for a few weeks (“the hot shoe shuffle”).

    Note also that this isn’t in any way supposed to be criticism of Visa Europe’s story. They’ve done much more than most organisations would even dream of. I’m just explaining the direction I personally feel they should go.


    Anyone else any suggestions for Derrick?


    Thanks to MOK and Michelle for the invite to the event, and to Derrick and his IT colleague for the story.


    Photo credit: Joe Mabel

    Technorati Tags: Derrick Ahlfeldt,Visa Europe,MOK,Innovation Beehive,Michelle Lawton,Consult HR,Kevin Roberts,Peak Performing Organisation,human capital,social capital

    This post is cross-posted at Strategic HCM.



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