Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Tower is Riddled with Networks

As part of conversation with Tom Haskins and Steve Roesler, Harold Jarche asks What business are you in?

The conversation starts with Steve Roesler descibing a life situation in which his self-employment has probably provided more options than would otherwise be available to corporate employees. In the article, he also related the gist of a conversation with an HR executive. A phrase from that conversation, "This is a business", has sparked an interesting conversation thread with Tom and Harold.

Tom enumerates several excuses offered by business for why companies wall themselves off from networks. At the heart of the concerns is a fear of losing control over their own efforts at perception management.

I particularly like one of Tom's points.
When people say "this is a business" I hear "this is not a viable network".
Harold's question asks us to look at our businesses. Are we in networks or silos?
I’ve noticed that even many so-called “new economy” companies are still based on the command & control models of the industrial age. They’re like dinosaurs wearing mammals’ clothing but they won’t be able to keep warm during the next ice age.
We are indeed creatures of habit.

For what it's worth, we also have so-called "old economy" companies with elaborate informal networks. There are, in fact, riddled with networks. We have good-old boy networks, special interest groups, rumor mills, and leaky channels to outside networks. Are they in fact mammals in disguise? Probably not, but it paints an intriguing picture.

As a change agent, my primary medium of choice is the informal internal networks. This are where conversations take place. This is where pre-emptive consensus is gained prior to gaining official sign-off. This is where the landmines are pointed out.

2 comments:

Steve Roesler said...

As a result of the 4 blog posts, we've highlighted the impact of of networks vs. silos.

It was one "conversation" that led to another conversation, and another...

Now here we all are, connected and expanding the understanding and application of a common issue.

Does it really get much better than that?!

Keep writing and connecting...

Aloof Schipperke said...

No, it doesn't get much better.

This conversation has prompted me to add another nice blog to my reader. Thanks!