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Black History Month: Reflections on Our Shared History

Posted by Ken Klaus on February 16, 2011

February is Black History Month.  A time to reflect on the contributions African-Americans have made in shaping our nation, culture and especially our civil rights policies.  A time to remember the women and men who spent their personal and professional lives working to make things better, not only for themselves, but also for their families, their communities and our nation; and not just for their generation, but also for the millions who came after them.  People like Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, George Washington Carver, Ida B. Wells, Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King.  I’m glad we set aside time to reflect on our shared history; something I think we generally undervalue, even take for granted.  Though we pride ourselves on being a nation of individuals, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and captains of industry, our accomplishments stand on a foundation others have laid.  Our liberty, rights and way of life, here in the twenty-first century, exist because of the sacrifices others made in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, going as far back as the Declaration of Independence.  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Yet even as this new republic was born millions of slaves living within its borders were denied liberty.  Freedom for all would not come for another century and basic equality for yet another beyond the first.  And so each generation had to take up the cause of freedom and equality, building upon the work done by those who came before them, each moving forward the cause of liberty one step at a time.  And so the struggle continues to this day.  Which is why valuing our history, reflecting on how we came to be the nation and people we are today and honoring those who sacrificed personally and professionally is so important.

These individuals – too numerous to name here, many already long forgotten – who fought first for liberty and then struggled for full equality through the long decades following the Civil War, they made possible the freedom and rights we share today.  We are the recipients of a great gift that would not exist without the contributions of those who came before us.  Our President, Barak Obama, stands on the shoulders of Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, George Washington Carver, Ida B. Wells, Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King; as do we all.  The fabric of our shared history was woven by the people who came before us.  We would not be the nation we are and we would not have the freedom and rights we enjoy, but for the women and men who made freedom and civil rights their life long passion.  Without the contributions made by the people we remember during Black History Month the liberty we enjoy today would not exist.

But our history is only part of the story, the chapters that have already been written.  We too have a part to play.  We too must take up this struggle if liberty is to endure, if the generations who come after us are to have a better world in which to live and work.  Thomas Paine, in his treaties, Rights of Man, makes our responsibility in this matter clear.

Every age and generation must be as free to act for itself, in all cases, as the ages and generations which preceded it.  The vanity and presumption of governing beyond the grave, is the most ridiculous and insolent of all tyrannies.  Man has no property in man; neither has any generation a property in the generations which are to follow.  The parliament or the people of 1688, or of any other period, had no more right to dispose of the people of the present day, or to bind or to control them in any shape whatever, than the parliament or the people of the present day have to dispose of, bind or control those who are to live a hundred or a thousand years hence.  Every generation is and must be competent to all the purposes which its occasions require.

Man did not enter into society to become worse than he was before, nor to have less rights than he had before, but to have those rights better secured.  His natural rights are the foundation of all his civil rights.

To the same degree that we have been the beneficiaries – nationally, professionally and personally – of the many who came before us, who struggled and sacrificed to make the world a better place, we too must endeavor in this good and noble cause.  We must give of ourselves, so that those who follow after us will find that we have made the world, our country, our companies and our communities more civil, just, and attainable.  Liberty and equality for all was the rallying cry of the revolution and though today we regard these as our rights, as an end in themselves, perhaps they are better understood as a means to an end.  Our Pledge of Allegiance includes the phrase, “one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” – but how much richer and meaningful these statements become when they are reversed: With liberty and justice for all, we are one nation indivisible.

Posted in community, leadership, passion | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

Keep blogging!

Posted by Anders Northeved on October 27, 2010

There are many good reasons why people blog.

If it is an internal blog it will promote knowledge sharing within your organization and help your organization perform better.

If it is an external blog you will promote your own organization and help other people understand and appreciate what you do.

It is one of the pieces in the puzzle of building your own brand as described in Ravi’s posting.

You get feedback from people on a topic you find interesting. So you are not only giving information but also receiving new perspectives on a topic that interest you.

It gives you a good feeling in your stomach and a boost for your self confidence knowing that you write something others are interested in reading.

And in general: If you have some piece of information you think others could benefit from – why not share it?

All these reasons – and probably a couple I’ve forgot – was what got me starting posting to different blogs in the first place.
Having done this for some time now I have found all of the above to be true, but I have also found that blogging brings one benefit I didn’t expect…

I have experienced that blogging makes you think longer – and harder – about the topics you blog on.
Whenever you think about something new or see things in a new light you might say to yourself: “This might be a topic for a posting” and then something interesting happens:
You start organizing things in your head, you start thinking about headlines and keywords and all of a sudden you have organized and articulated the topic in a much better way than if you had not wanted to create a blog on the topic.
Knowing other people are going to read, think and respond to what you write makes you think longer, harder – and better – and that can never be a bad thing!

So don’t despair if you only have one reader for your posting – you will still benefit from creating it.

Just realized that if I had not been posting on this blog the brainwave I got the other day while I was out running: “why do people blog?” would have stayed just that  – a brainwave.

Posted in collaboration, communication, community, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

What’s So Funny ‘Bout Tweets, Posts, and Understanding?

Posted by Mark Bennett on April 26, 2010

So where are the strong, and who are the trusted?

How much has your experience with social media like blogs and networks helped you understand things better? I’m not saying you had to agree with someone else, just that you had a better idea where they were coming from. Didn’t that help you have a more complete picture of the overall situation? Didn’t that improve your thinking and as a result, your ability to get things done or come up with a better solution?

Just as how your experience with networks outside of work can help you understand more about others, so too can your experience with your network at work help you understand more about what other folks in your company are doing, what they are up against, their frustrations, as well as their vision. Again, you don’t have to agree with them; it’s about understanding them more so that you can be better in your thinking, consider more perspectives, etc.

So how to foster that understanding? The challenge is that this understanding requires looking at your connections as more than just nodes on a network; you also must factor in their humanity.

If it’s about humans, it’s about relationships

What makes it hard and keeps a lot of folks unwilling to factor in the other person’s humanity, particularly in business, is that humans are complex. Roles, expertise, functions, etc. are not nearly as complicated. Most of the complication people try to avoid is around that most human of attributes: emotions. Sometimes, as Jason Seiden just pointed out, you don’t even know what emotion you are observing in the other person. Are they mad? Frustrated? Distracted? Then, you don’t know what the context of the emotion is. Are they mad at me? Someone else? Are they frustrated about some larger issue they see? What does it mean?

So unsurprisingly, a lot of people just give up and say, “You know what, I’m just going to do my job, get the info I need, tell folks what I think needs to be done, and that’s it.” Just get in, get what you need, and get out seems the simplest approach and least likely to cause problems. Here’s the catch – using that approach with your social network can just as easily cause the problems you’re trying to avoid. People aren’t dumb and they will see what you are doing and they wouldn’t be out of line to at least resent that you are using a social medium to basically use or manipulate people.

Besides, you are also missing out on getting a better understanding of the people in your network, where they are coming from, and how they see things are. Which means: you’re also missing the bigger picture.

Core Concerns, not Kumbaya

What if you had a way to still acknowledge emotions and what if that also helped you get a better understanding of the people in your network and as a result, get you what you wanted? I’m going to pull in some advice that’s primarily directed to negotiators, but also applies to relationships*, both personal as well as business, and will serve you well in your social network at work.

This advice comes from Roger Fisher, of “Getting to Yes” fame, and his colleague Daniel Shapiro, from their book, “Beyond Reason.” They suggest that rather than trying to stop having emotions, ignoring them, or attempting to decipher them directly, instead try to address what boils down to the Five Core Concerns that give rise to many of the emotions we see. This way, we can still acknowledge the impact of emotions (and maybe even benefit from them – think excitement, hope, etc.) and enrich our relationships as well as our understanding.

Here are the Five Core Concerns to consider, and by doing so, will help your relationships in your networks, both inside and outside of work. In turn, you’ll get better understanding:

  1. Appreciation: Really find merit in the other person’s thinking and then show it. They will see that and that will raise your credibility with them immensely. Guess what? You might come away with better understanding by looking at things their way for a minute.
  2. Affiliation: Find common ground or interests that you can be colleagues on, rather than adversaries. This is about finding where you both agree so that you can get motivated to help each other in that area at least, which promotes more understanding.
  3. Autonomy:  Recognize and respect that the other person doesn’t have to do what you say or agree with you. Applying pressure to change that will backfire at least in the long run. Besides, if they can’t express their opinions or say what they would do if they could, etc. you miss out on the bigger picture.
  4. Status: Show each person, that while perhaps not having as much “prestige” as everyone else, or as grand a title, they are nevertheless important in their own right. They have a particular expertise, some knowledge, function, thinking, or opinion that is unique and valuable. Understanding this in order to communicate it to your network gives you (and them) a better understanding of the bigger picture.
  5. Role: In addition to the above, make sure people in your network know how what they are doing matters to you and what you’re trying to do. Figuring this out gives you (and your network) a better overall understanding.

*Think about it, unless a negotiation is very, very quick and you’ll never deal with that person (or people they know) ever again, then it really *is* about relationships.

Photo by volume12

Posted in community, social network, Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

Thinking at HR Technology 2009

Posted by Mark Bennett on October 6, 2009

134943545_730adff787_mWhat HR Technology 2009 provided best and better than most conferences was convergence of much of the diverse thinking that’s going on in our industry, and it was energizing. Bill Kutik deserves huge props for balancing expectations with the unexpected, which for the most part kept HR Tech lively and provocative.

Naturally, HR Technology 2009 had a lot of the standard offerings, as always, “table stakes” as it were, including vendors touting their wares, industry rumors, informative sessions, and so on. Of course, the “Shoot Out” is viewed as a major differentiator and it is an interesting exercise to watch. As many have already pointed out, it’s a difficult challenge to provide a head-to-head comparison that covers “real world” scenarios that interest a broad range of customers, in a fair and balanced manner among the competitors, fit it all into a very short period of time, and not have it all appear extremely scripted (and fast!). Kudos to Bill and Leighanne Levensaler for working on developing a great set of scenarios and to Bill for continuing to experiment with the formula in an effort to address the issues people have expressed.

Here’s some standout thinking that was shared regarding getting real business results from HR technology, which will be further explored in upcoming posts:

  • Suite Thinking: This is recognizing the emerging power of an integrated talent management suite. It’s about the challenge of how to have a stable, secure system of record that supports core HR transactions yet also provide dynamic innovation around achieving strategic success through talent. The industry analyst panel with Josh Bersin, Naomi Bloom, Jim Holincheck, and Lisa Rowan, and Leighanne Levensaler’s session in particular raised important thinking about how integration can impact strategic success, what are the key objectives, what are the required components, as well as what are the challenges and tradeoffs (e.g. extracting data vs. initiating HR processes.)
  • Social Thinking: This is accepting and adopting social media’s value and learning its various features, implementations, policies, and practices. It’s also about understanding how compliance and governance issues must be addressed not by banning and rejection, but by promoting purpose and accountability. Once those basics are in place, it’s about how to ignite gains in productivity, innovation and employee engagement. Don Tapscott’s keynote showed how the digital natives coming into the workforce are not a threat or distraction, but rather a source of learning and new, more effective approaches to creating value from talent. Nokia’s session shared real-world examples of how that happens.
  • Business Thinking: This is knowing that while technology is a key component of solving business problems, and some technologies are more capable than others, it’s only if companies are ready and can commit to make the necessary substantive organizational changes and then actually do it, that they’ll reap the full return on their technology investment. The corollary is that technology itself does not cause the ill effects experienced by companies that don’t make the right changes, but it can certainly amplify those effects to the point of getting everyone’s attention. Great points were made by both Josh Bersin and Naomi Bloom in the industry analyst panel and by Naomi again in her closing keynote about how learning and applying key business skills and language like statistics and finance as well as really understanding how your particular business makes a profit and how that affects your workforce strategy are essential for HR if it really wants to play a strategic role.
  • Community Thinking: This is having unity of purpose in improving the effectiveness of human capital, even while participants still pursue their goals and contribute their particular strengths. This is not a re-hash of Social Thinking, but it’s a meta-level of thinking that leverages social thinking. Much of what stalls progress is about people and organizations getting overloaded, which not only “jams the gears” but can also trigger a fear and rejection reflex. Finding sources you can trust who can help process the flood of information and innovation goes a long way to help overcome that fear and rejection, which social networking tools can help address. This takes us back to the initial point about the major value that HR Tech provided us: a way in which folks with all their varied agendas and priorities can gather together and share their experiences, their products, their vision, and even their disagreements, to that major purpose that we all share.

If you haven’t seen them already, here are some excellent observations made by some really terrific folks:

If you want to learn more, have your voice heard by those who would listen, and contribute to this purpose, then join us in whatever way you can that suits you. Comment on our blogs or start your own, create a Twitter account if you haven’t already and follow us. Whatever way works for you. We look forward to getting to know you!

Photo by florriebassingbourn

Posted in community, hr, HR Technology | Tagged: | 19 Comments »

One, but not the same

Posted by Mark Bennett on July 3, 2009

3220803117_22cf199b2f_mThis weekend marks the anniversary of the birth of a nation whose motto is about unity of purpose while acknowledging the differences in those who contribute to that purpose. That’s a very interesting duality that effective networks share; each person in the network has unique capabilities and individual goals, and different ways in which they contribute, but the network is unified in purpose.

As social networking tools gain acceptance in the enterprise, folks are recognizing that first, networks have always existed inside companies and second, that these network tools are more about making the networks more visible and more easily acted upon and utilized. As a result, when properly used, these tools accelerate productivity, innovation and engagement. However, like any tools, used improperly, these tools can damage those objectives as well.

Previously, we discussed how networks are inherently “opt-in” since they are usually not formal organizational structures. This means social factors such as trust play a large role in whether people will participate and make the network effective. But even after you achieve participation, the potential to wreck the network still exists in subtle and insidious ways.

One way is in the very structure of networks themselves. We know that the more connections that exist in a network, the higher the likelihood of information finding its way to the right person. Of course, everybody knows you can’t have ridiculously high levels of connections (although whether the number in 150+ or 1,500+ is debated) but is it right to assume that people in the network who have a significantly lower number of connections than others are somehow not as effective (or vice-versa?) As Steve Boese commented on a previous post, simply measuring the number (or extent) of connections doesn’t really tell you whether or not it’s working; it depends on the role or the person’s objectives. It can go beyond that as well; in some roles, some individuals might simply be more effective having only a tight set of connections with just a few of which reach outside their close circle of colleagues. Now, imagine a manager who simply measures effective use of the network by number and extent of connections dinging that individual for not having a high enough “social score.” Why risk their departure or reduced participation if the individual was an expert in a particularly strategic area and had contributed perfectly well through a “bridge” connection into the network?

What’s a better way? Managers need to look at the big picture and understand first what the purpose of the various networks are that their employees are members of. In that context, the manager can than understand what role an employee has in that network and then coach the employee if it seems that either the network is not getting what it needs, or even more effectively, if the employee is feeling they aren’t getting the most use from the network.

The most energetic proponents of network tools in the enterprise are not surprisingly heavy users of these tools. As such, they can easily fall into the perfectly natural human behavior of thinking other participants should be just as active, or more subtlety, not pay effective attention to those who aren’t as active. They can unwittingly alienate the very kind of employee that otherwise might not have had as much voice or impact on the success of the company from using the very tool that would have overcome the obstacle of organization structure, etc. Especially during the delicate initial phase of encouraging the use of network tools, it’s a good idea to look out for the non-productive effects of social pressure. As the culture becomes more familiar with their use, social norms will start to take effect and help people understand the different ways everyone contributes. Gradually, job and role requirements can then be added where appropriate in order to more clearly communicate expectations and guide career development.

Photo by: pursuethepassion

Posted in collaboration, community, engagement, Innovation, social network | 8 Comments »

Rich social network = rich productivity

Posted by Justin Field on March 11, 2009

I was browsing through last month’s Harvard Business Review and lo and behold there’s a short article on social networking. The article was about the types of social networking interactions that are required at different times or for different purposes. A centralised structure works for discovery; but a richly connected network supports integration and decision making.
But that wasn’t the important bit! The important bit was recent research from MIT showing the productivity of poorly connected workers versus richly connected workers. Those workers with the most extensive personal digital (i.e. electronic) networks were 7% more productive than their colleagues. Of course, there’s no substitute for face to face, so the same study also found that workers with the strongest and most cohesive face to face networks were 30% more productive.
So I see corporate social networks as places for:
– gathering to share information
– gathering to integrate information and make decisions communally
– building a virtual network that supports and extends the face to face network

Posted in analytics, Career Development, community, engagement, social network, web2.0 | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

Where is Social Enterprise with no Social Contract?

Posted by Mark Bennett on February 14, 2009

social_contract_rousseau_page

Imagine the following variant of a classic Office Space exchange:

Bill Lumbergh: So, Peter, what’s happening? Aahh, now, are you going to go ahead and answer some questions on our social network this afternoon?
Peter Gibbons: No.

Bill Lumbergh: Ah. Yeah. So I guess we should probably go ahead and have a little talk. Hmm?

 

Not too difficult to imagine Peter’s response, right? Why is that so? What would work instead?

 

There has been a bit of controversy around a suggestion that companies look at collaborative tools such as enterprise social networks as a means to retain knowledge that would otherwise be lost when an employee is laid off. Part of the problem was that it wasn’t made clear whether the tools were supposed to have been in use for some time prior to the layoff or not. The suggestion also included rewarding or even forcing participation if necessary. There was a lot of pushback – mostly on how it either wouldn’t work or worse yet, would create unintended consequences.

 

We should look at how this might be telling us how employees and employers sometimes view the social enterprise differently. To some employers, collaborative tools are seen as *only* a technology to be used as a means to drive higher productivity, make innovation happen, and capture and preserve “tribal knowledge.” It’s true the technology can indeed enable and/or accelerate these benefits, but the essence of the pushback is that the technology alone is not enough. For the benefits to occur there must be genuine participation by employees. For there to be genuine participation, there must be trust from employees, which means looking at collaborative tools from their perspective and interests.

 

This is where the “Social Contract” comes into play*. The “Social” in “Social Enterprise” is not just a catchy label – it says that genuine participation is needed to make it work. And *genuine* participation, as opposed to merely going through the motions, is primarily an optional exercise for the employee. The “Social Contract” between employer and employee is based on its participatory nature. The employee always has the option to “opt-out”, at least in such a way that will cause efforts to use collaborative tools to fail.

 

So what would work? Focus on why an employee would “opt-in”. You would have little reason to participate if you knew layoffs were imminent and that management has consistently sent a message that all they value is what you know. If management has instead demonstrated they value how you help solve problems or get things done using what you know and collaborative tools in turn help you do that, then you would be more apt to participate. In this situation, the value the company has in the employee encourages the employee to use the collaborative tools.

 

*The idea of the “Social Contract” comes from Jean Rousseau and has been adapted to business issues such as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR.) There is naturally a lot of debate on this since Rousseau was focused on political rights and government while businesses are private property. However, employees are not the property of business and therefore a “social contract” of sorts exists between the company and the employee, although its nature has changed over time.

Posted in community, engagement, management, social network, Uncategorized | 12 Comments »

Confessions of a paranoid, antisocial, perfectionist blogger

Posted by Ken Klaus on January 19, 2009

fear-turtle1

Perfectionist – one who has a propensity for being displeased with anything that is not perfect or does not meet an extremely high standard.

 

Paranoia – extreme, irrational distrust of others.

 

Antisocial – unwilling or unable to associate normally with other people.

 

I have yet to fully embrace the mainstream social networking revolution.  By mainstream I mean the average individual who blogs for work, to earn a living, or just for the simple pleasure of writing.  I do not mean the people who share every moment of their lives through word and picture.  Frankly, you people scare me.  Many of my colleagues have already jumped into the deep end of this pool where they gently and persistently call to me: ‘Come on in, the water’s fine’.  For a time I took comfort, and not a little snarky pleasure, with others who embraced the antisocial lifestyle, like Kathi.  But as I’ve watched our numbers diminish over the past year – even Kathi now has a Facebook page – I wondered why I was still so hesitant to dive-in and join the fun.

 

The truth is I very much want to be all in – a fully vested and contributing member of our virtual community; but I’m afraid and my natural response to fear is to move away from and not toward other people.  Now I don’t think my paranoia and antisocial tendencies are engrained personality flaws – though I have my fair share of these as well – rather I’ve come to see them as a by-product of the perfectionist rooted to the core of my being.  And believe me when I say this is way more than a mere tendency.  It’s part of my DNA.  This means that no matter how trivial the task I almost always create an unreasonably high set of standards and as a consequence end up feeling disappointed and ashamed when I fail to measure up.  So when I post a blog or a comment and later find a typo or misspelled word I feel every bit as bad about myself as when I make a mess of a relationship or fall short of my performance goals at work.  With perfectionism there is no sense of proportionality – every failure, real or perceived, leads to the same crushing sense of defeat.  That’s when the paranoia begins to seep into my consciousness – “they’re laughing at you” – which then leads to antisocial behaviors like lurking.

 

Rationally I understand that I am mostly successful at the things I do and that generally I am a competent employee, friend, and blogger.  But I also understand that I cannot simply get over being a perfectionist.  I have to learn to live with it and accept that I am going to make mistakes.  This won’t be easy, but I’m committed to doing better and commitment requires a plan – and a good plan needs a set of goals.  So to that end I’m setting the following goals for myself:

 

1.   I will not give in to fear or isolation.  Solitude is okay, monasticism is not. 

2.    I will participate, not just lurk, in our online community. 

3.    I will create a Facebook account.  Understanding that I may have to spend a few weeks chanting my first goal before I’m actually ready to do this.

4.    I will not feel bad, anguish, or obsess over the small mistakes that are simply a part of being human, like typos, spelling errors, grammatical gaffes, forgetting to buy half-and-half, misplacing my keys, or counting that box of Raisinets as part or all of my five daily servings of fruits and vegetables.

 

It’s an exciting time to be working in talent management and the wonderful, quirky, sometimes scary, world of social networking holds almost endless possibilities.  So to all the other paranoid, antisocial, perfectionists lurking in the shadows, I too say, “Come on in and join the conversation, the water and the people are exceptionally fine.”

 

Peace

 

Posted in community, personal, social network | Tagged: , , | 12 Comments »

TalentedApps Interviewed in Human Capital Vendor Space

Posted by Mark Bennett on December 22, 2008

about_jwillWilliam Tincup was kind enough to give us the opportunity to answer his questions about how we got started, what keeps us going, our future plans, and who our favorite human capital blogger is.

William (that’s him to the left, there), has created several blogs. Human Capital Vendor Space is a terrific blog and William’s writing style is refreshing and candid. We highly recommend you add it to your reader if you haven’t already.

Posted in community, hr, talentedapps | Leave a Comment »

Managing a global workforce

Posted by Meg Bear on December 18, 2008

talentteam1

When I hear talk about hand wringing about flex hours and how do you keep people focused when working from home I must admit I don’t get it.  That’s not to say I don’t understand the comments, I do, it’s just that I have been working with a remote/global workforce so long I’m not sure I really remember what it was like to wonder how to make it work.  My first India + US HQ + Random other location work team was in 1995.  Back in the good old days when connectivity between India and the US was dicey at best.  We did, however, have email. 

Of all the companies that I’ve worked for I have to say that Oracle has this mastered better than anywhere I’ve seen.  Global workforce is not the exception, it’s the only rule (at least in development).  My own situation is having a boss in the UK and staff in several US locations, 2 India locations and Australia.  My peers teams are even more distributed.  If you are new to a global workforce here are some tips I’ve gathered over the years you might find helpful.

  1. Communication skills are a competency that you can no longer consider optional or nice to have.  This is especially impactful for engineering teams where personalities might find this challenging and education often downplays the need.
  2. Webconference tools are used every day.  At Oracle we are lucky to have our own tools for this, but if you don’t, you need to get favorable pricing for usage, since rarely do I attend a meeting where a webconference is not used.
  3. Technology helps a lot.  VoIP, record/playback, Forums, Wikis, Microblogging, Social Networking.  You name it, we need it.  Making it possible for interactions that happen via technology can be used (and reused) is critical to spanning the globe.
  4. Flexibility is critical.  Every team has to share the load of precious “real time” communication.  Supporting split shifts and shifting work schedules for early morning and/or late evening meetings is a part of life.  This is not just working from home, it’s starting meetings from home at 9pm.  A full scale cultural norm shift of what it means to be working is required.
  5. Timezone awareness is not optional.  Knowing that Friday afternoon is the weekend in Australia is something you just have to know.  Having a good tool to keep you in sync (I’ve been using iGoogle’s widget these days) and having someone on your team to remind you when daylight savings gets everyone off for a few weeks, can make or break critical deadlines.
  6. Nothing is more critical than relationships.  Using travel wisely and focusing on relationship building will make all the difference when times are tough.  If you are just a random name or email account you are easily ignored.  If you are a known person you will have a hope of rising above the noise when you need help from a teammate in a different part of the world
  7. Surprisingly a photoshop competency on the team is useful.  How else would you ever get a full team photo?

Working globally is not something that every industry is going to embrace, at least not at the level that we have here.  I will tell you that the insight, value, collaboration, joy and experience that you have with a diverse and global workforce is the best of the best.   While the hype will tell you that around the clock productivity is the benefit, I would argue that around the world talent trumps that by a long shot.

Posted in community, engagement, global, teams | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »