4 Guidelines for Encouraging Enterprise Social Collaboration (Part 1)

4 Guidelines for Encouraging Enterprise Social Collaboration (Part 1)

Encouraging Enterprise Social Collaboration

Creating a collaborative enterprise is not easy. It involves getting management buy-in, implementing the appropriate processes and tools, and getting employees to openly adopt a new way of working. This first of a series of posts addresses the last, and I believe the most difficult, step in the process; driving employee adoption.

How do you get successful employees to change their tried and true work habits and adopt a new, more collaborative way of working?

At Oracle Corporation, a low cost animation made by moviestorm.co.uk and a couple of employees during their free time became the tool of choice.

The animation illustrates life before and after the requested change. The impact of this short animation proved substantial. “In the end, it was one of the most effective components of our business case, enabling us to evolve the way we now knowledge share” says David Christopher, Social Media Business Leader for EMEA at Oracle, and owner of StopThinkSocial.com.

What I like about this example is that it illustrates four important guidelines to follow when attempting to change the way people work.

Four Guidelines for Encouraging Enterprise Collaboration

  • Target your most influential audience.
  • Focus on one visceral problem your audience faces.
  • Succinctly show how your new way of working fixes the problem.
  • Make switching to your new way of working easy, accessible and socially acceptable.

1. Target Your Most Influential Audience

The 105,000 employees that make up Oracle Corporation generally fall into one of four broad categories; Management, Product Development, Customer Support and Sales. While leaders and employees in each of these categories make significant contributions, and add significant value to the Oracle empire, I can tell you from my time working there, it is the sales teams that have the most influence.


2. Focus on One Visceral Problem Your Audience Faces

Anyone who has every worked on a sales team can relate to this animation. Last-minute client requests are a way of life. Deals that have been worked for 18 months or more often come down to one final, last-minute presentation. And when they do, the sales professional is left to track down whatever information is needed, and work as late as they have to, in order to ensure the presentation is perfect. Remember the sick feeling you got in the pit of your stomach the last time your boss came to you at 6 o’clock on a Thursday with an urgent request? That is the type of visceral experience I am talking about.


3. Succinctly Show How Your New Way of Working Fixes the Problem

Enterprise collaboration issues are, by their very nature, complex. The solutions to these issues must not be. If your new way of working takes more than 60 seconds to explain and more than half that time to illustrate, there is a significant chance that your audience will lose interest. It is important to note that the “whole solution” was not presented in this animation. There are several additional processes and technologies that David and his team could have also shown, but did not. The decision was both intentional and imperative. Show your audience how the concept works and interest in the details will soon follow.


4. Make Switching to Your New Way of Working Easy, Accessible and Socially Acceptable

I am fortunate to be in a position where I spend several hours a day speaking to, and working with, Fortune 1000 professionals. When I ask them why they have not adopted a more collaborative way of working, the number one answer I get is, “I do not have time to fundamentally change the way I work.” This may seem oxymoronic, as one of the main reasons for making the change is to create a working environment that saves employees time, but it is a reality. The animation above shows the Oracle sales professional using a couple of simple tools that are easily accessible from her laptop. There is nothing “earth shattering” about what she is doing. Equally as important, it illustrates a natural and believable response from her colleagues. In essence, she is demonstrating a new way of working that is easy, accessible and socially acceptable. The audience is left with a clear picture of low risk and high reward.


The is the first in a series of posts on encouraging enterprise collaboration. I have my thoughts on what topics to cover next. I would love to hear yours.