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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Cluetrainplus10: Thesis #44

It’s been 10 years since the Cluetrain Manifesto was published. As part of the anniversary bloggers from around the web are writing thesis and publishing them as part of cluetrainplus10. This is my blog post on thesis 44. Thanks to Helene Blowers and Michael Stephens for turning me onto this project with their thesis!

#44. Companies typically install intranets top-down to distribute HR policies and other corporate information that workers are doing their best to ignore.

It isn’t just that no one has time for anything beyond breakfast tweets, the constant checking of who’s talking on Facebook and the growing iphone app addiction, it’s that the in-house conversations about companies that are usually the loudest are the ones top brass are trying to tamp down and are usually centered around growing resentments. The whole idea of creating an Intranet that serves as an online manual is no more effective than handing out hard copy manuals. Sure it may save a few trees (unless everyone is busy printing the manual at their desks so they can have their own copy to file) but it will still be seen as something to file away and will only be looked at an a “need to know” basis.

Our internal customers want:
• As much input as external customers
• To be part of the conversation
• Know they have input
• Feel empowered to make changes

We are all still waiting for Intranets that are set up to allow the workforce to communicate from the bottom to the top with simple items like “comment boxes” and polls. Give us an online manual that can be rated by staff and now a company will be offering staff something of interest to read. But that isn’t where we should stop.

Are we missing the boat by not allowing more social interactivity amongst our staff members on our Intranets? Yes!

Missing out by not encouraging people to create and share humor, creativity, and entrepreneurship on our Intranets? Yes, yes, yes.

But any Intranet can only reflect that which is instilled in the soul of our companies.
And so we circle back to the beginning - back to transparency and trust. Back to tails wagging dogs and paradigms shifting and companies wanting to know how they can stay solvent without changing “too much”.

And employees spend their creative energies getting past firewalls to participate in the social networks, tweet about life outside their cubicles and continue to fuel the success of those companies that grew from the ashes of the companies that couldn’t keep from crashing and burning.

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