The Change Curve

Vivien and Marady started by discussion organizational change management, and understanding the stages people go through in moving from a current state to future state. It can be like jumping a chasm:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Blame
  • Fear
  • Acceptance
  • Shifts
  • Excitement
  • Creativity
  • New Forms

It can be represented graphically like this:


(That’s  Marady as spokesmodel. Click the thumbnail to enlarge.)

A better model, they suggest, is Peter Senge’s creative tension method of a learning organization, as visualized below:


We’ll get into that after the break.

ALI Post-Conference Workshop

Vivien Dai and Marady Hill of Bonfire Communications are presenting a workshop called How to Leverage New Technologies to Drive conversation and Collaboration Within Your Organization. They started with a recap discussion, asking everyone to share the insights and challenges they are taking home from the last two days.Some of the points participants mentioned:

  • Start small
  • Just try it
  • It’s OK to fail and adjust
  • Cut through the fear, particularly of security. People can lead through email or phone, so this is not really a new risk.
  • Set expectations. Not everyone has to participate. Just because not 100 percent of employees will use the tools doesn’t mean they don’t have value for the ones who do.
  • These tools will be key for attracting new talent in a younger generation.
  • Find the promoters and those with the need. Look at what the business need is and how you can solve it, not “I have some shiny tools in search of a problem.”
  • Use Open Source and don’t make it too complicated. Post your need on Craigslist and you can find a developer who will help you solve your problem inexpensively so the ROI hurdle won’t be too high.

OK, everyone…What were your key take-aways from the last two days?

AAA and American Express Case Studies


In contrast to Kevin from IBM, David Kligman from the California State Automobile Association (AAA), talked about an incremental project he implemented, which is a means of having a feedback string for its intranet newsletter aimed at 12,000 employees.

They’ve had over 5,000 feedback comments so far. It cost them about $3,500 in employee time in getting this project implemented.

David’s advice for Editors based on his experience:

  • Don’t make it anonymous
    • More value in discussion
    • Richer dialogue
    • Accountability
    • Other opportunities for anonymity (employee surveys)
  • Don’t leave questions hanging. Find someone who can answer.
  • Don’t let IT overcomplicate things.
    • Create easy sign-in process.
  • Monitor but don’t obsess.
    • Get your communications team involved.
  • Include sidebars with questions to prompt employee feedback
  • Let conversations run their course (even the critical ones)
  • Spread the word that it’s safe to say what you think (counsel executives.)
  • Send articles to execs as a heads up
    • Jump into conversation if needed
    • When responding, thank employees
    • Don’t be defensive
    • Don’t reprimand employees for speaking out

I think maybe what we’re looking at with the IBM presentation vs. some of the more grassroots tactics is that IBM is a huge, tech-oriented enterprise with lots of experience with online communities and tools. Best Buy suggested failing fast and learning from mistakes. I think that was the CDC approach, too.

Kit Thompson from American Express had a similar story.  They have a moderated discussion board. They didn’t have any budget assigned to this. They had someone with tech smarts on their team, who was able to cobble this together with existing tools.

It’s like Zig Ziglar says, “If you wait for all the lights to be on green, you’ll never leave the driveway.” I think with an emphasis on having a complete enterprise solution to integrate everything you will load the project down with so much cost that it will be hard to prove success.

For most companies, I think it’s much better to go for small wins like AAA and American Express have. You can worry later about integrating everything later if necessary.  And if you’re an IBM with lots of experience with these tools, now may be the time to integrate.

9 Suggestions for Going Social at Work

This is from Kevin Winterfield from IBM, and relates to his presentation on Making IBM Small. He’s definitely coming from the perspective of a technology vendor and a Fortune 500 company, so he probably is advocating

  1. Enable your employees and be patient – create an environment that allow users to better collaborate via multiple modalities, across timezones, organizational barriers, skillsets, know each other professionally and socially, know each other’s skills and expertise.
  2. Integrate your tools – look for integrated toolsets; must be open; incredible growth here.
  3. Be sensitive to culture change – be sensitive to generational acceptance and norms, country cultures; incorporate storytelling and cultural sharing; allow for human interest and encourage employee participation and generation of content.
  4. Constant communication – campaigns to help with adoption; show leadership modeling and permission; define usage policies; provide education.
  5. Know when you are risking too much – connect employees without creating chaos; define free-form sandboxes and focused work projects.
  6. Ensure privacy – define the line between work and play; socializing and work.
  7. Protect and secure your assets – ensure interndal data is safe; use tools that are well-tested from credible vendors.
  8. Develop fair policies, not fluffy ones – govern use without boxing in innovation; allow for play but maintain values of company along the way.
  9. Implement with a credible vendor – work with a credible vendor to select and implement for your specific organization. Don’t try it on your own, or start with something extremely safe.

This set of tips has much to commend it, but it runs directly counter to what the Best Buy experience was with their Blue Shirt Nation project, which we heard about earlier today. They started with at $100 budget and used open source software. I think the better approach would be to go for some quick wins (which might be like the last half of Kevin’s 9th point), and then you have a proof of concept that you can use to sell the complete solution.

Otherwise, if you come in with a multi-million dollar project, you’re going to get asked to prove the ROI. If the I is to big, they’re going to be more skeptical. But if the I is small (or next to nothing), you can proceed until apprehended.

What do you think?

Kevin Winterfield on IBM Social Networking

Kevin’s presentation is called Making IBM Small: How Social Networking Can Turn a Corporation Into A Community.

IBM is enabling the endeavor through Social Media. Every IBMer has a blog and can start a wiki instantly without asking anyone.

Projects form and morph. Teams couple and de-couple to serve clients. The organizing principle that brings employees together is no longer the enterprise, it’s the endeavor.

I got the sense that Kevin didn’t want too many details about what IBM is doing to be published to the world. So instead of going into those details of his demo, I’m going to publish instead his “9 suggestions for going social at work” as a separate post.