4 Guidelines for Encouraging Enterprise Social Collaboration (Part 1)

22 Feb 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.

Andy Jankowski

Andy is a Global Executive in IBM's Talent & Transformation Practice and the Global Leader of IBM's Managed Employee Services offering. With a background in enterprise technology and management consulting, he's spend the last of 26 years helping companies understand, plan for, adopt and use new technologies to transform their businesses. He is known for his view that lasting, meaningful business transformation happens from the inside out, and focuses almost exclusively on business objectives, outcomes and new, better ways of working. A few examples include: Forbes: “From Inside Out, Speed Your Company’s Transformation” http://onforb.es/1WsWiuA) BBC News: "Online Chatting at Work Gets the Thumbs Up from Bosses" http://bbc.in/1QKAHxH Forbes: "How Employers And Employees Collaborate To Create Better Work" http://onforb.es/1n8Iw4c Andy is a frequent keynote speaker on the topic of using new technologies to transform the way business is done. When not working, you can find him spending time with his wife and two children, boating, road cycling and playing electric guitar.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle Plus

  • IntranetLounge
    Posted at 07:47h, 22 February Reply

    4 Guidelines for Encouraging Enterprise Social Collaboration (Part 1) – Andy Jankowski…

    This article has been submitted to IntranetLounge, a website with a collection of links to the best articles about intranets…

  • kare anderson
    Posted at 09:53h, 22 February Reply

    I strongly agreed (and Tweeted that) + your approach is complementary to that advocated by the authors of Pull, at Center for the Edge….. on how to create dynamic ecosystems

  • Andy Jankowski
    Posted at 10:16h, 22 February Reply

    Thanks Kare! I love the reading list on your site http://www.movingfrommetowe.com/ Many of my favorites… and a few I think I need to read!

  • EphraimJF
    Posted at 10:03h, 24 February Reply

    Great post Andy.

    This highlights a lesson I have learned over and over (I guess that means I didn’t learn it the first few times): SHOW DON’T JUST TELL.

    People need to see a relatable example of something new, rather than simply hear it in the abstract.

    This video also demonstrates something missing from a lot of technology change efforts: A deep understanding of the problems real employees face and how those problems are experienced.

    Thanks for posting!

    • Andy Jankowski
      Posted at 10:32h, 24 February Reply

      Thanks Ephraim. Your last point really resonates. In fact, over the next several weeks I will working to uncover and share other real world stories similar to this one. My intent is to provide concrete examples that people can use within their organizations to spread the word and convince management of the value of these investments.

  • EphraimJF
    Posted at 13:56h, 25 February Reply

    Andy have you seen this video used for a social intranet launch?


    The video by the Dutch Government Waterways Authority is in Dutch with English subtitles. It reminds me a bit of the one you’ve posted, but doesn’t offer the same focus on a specific, visceral problem.

    I discovered this video via the Column Two blog from James Robertson’s shop.

  • Andy Jankowski
    Posted at 20:51h, 28 February Reply

    Ephraim, Thanks for sharing I have not seen this video before. I have, however, seen various types of videos used to announce the launch of new intranet features and functions. One of my favorites was used by Abbott Laboratories. It was in the format of a weather forecast. Using green screen technology, a ‘weather forecaster’ stood in front of their intranet and pointed behind her to its new features and functions. It was light-hearted, fun and very effective. We are limited only by our own creativity.

  • David Christopher
    Posted at 17:17h, 11 April Reply

    Hi Andy,

    Thanks for the mention and great post!

    Your 4 stages are spot on. We all have to realise that social media is here to stay and just because not everyone gets it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make a start with social collaboration in the enterprise.

    Sales are the most influential but also the most difficult audience to address (isn’t this always the way?).

    What’s key is to find that hook – something that social collaboration addresses the “What’s in it for me?” response (e.g. with Executive Management it is “I can reduce your email by at least 50%”).

    The only other advice I would give is “start small – quick win – BIG impact”. Get that first social achievement under your belt and then grow from there.

    BTW – love the look to the site

Post A Comment