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Posts suspended for a bit while I settle into a new job. . . 

Entries in Work (3)


Collaborative Organizations

By Jacob Morgan, of the management consulting firm Chess Media Group, in ZDNet's TechRepublic, an article about core characteristics of collaborative organizations. 

The 12 habits of highly collaborative organizations 

March 18, 2013, 6:12 AM PDT

Takeaway: Here are twelve collaboration patterns or “principles” that successful organizations follow. 

Did you know that there are more possible moves in a game of chess then there are atoms in the entire universe and seconds that have elapsed since the big bang?  In fact, chess can be a virtually endless game.  If that’s the case then how do chess masters emerge?  What’s the point of trying to study something if the moves are endless?  Any good chess player will tell you that one of the keys to success is the ability to recognize patterns and situations to help you identify what the best next move is. 

When looking at collaboration and the future of work, the same logic applies.  Every company is unique and no two collaboration initiatives are the same.  However, after working with, speaking with and researching hundreds of companies (such as Wells Fargo, Unisys, Lowe’s, IBM, EA, The U.S. Government, TELUS, Intuit, Shell, and many others) my team at Chess Media Group and I have identified twelve collaboration patterns or “principles” that the successful organizations follow.  Below you will find a visual highlighting these principles followed by a more in-depth description of each one. 

See the link for the full list. It includes 

2) Strategy before technology -- it is unfortunately too common to implement or embrace the latest technology without a realistic idea of the intended goal. (See this Wikipedia entry for an overview of collaborative technologies.) 

3) Listen to the employee -- especially to the front-line employee. 

4) [Managers should] Learn to get out of the way. 

5) Lead by example -- that is, an organization's leaders should use and support collaborative tools and strategies, too. 

6) Fit the collaborative tools and strategies into the real workflow. 

7) Create a supportive environment -- it's important to recognize team and collaborative work, as well as individual accomplishment. 

9) Persist! Inculcating collaborative practices takes time and continued attention. 




What with the current event of Yahoo's Marissa Meyer abolishing telecommuting, putatively to foster innovation (see, for example, CEO Mayer Calls in All Yahoo Telecommuters, in Monday's CIO), this guidance via Ziff Davis's CIO|Insight is (largely) sensible and timely. (Some of the practices are **too draconian or *debatable, based on my experience.) 

Nine 'Best Practices' For Telecommuting 

By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 02-27-2013 

Despite Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer’s ban on telecommuting, CIOs and other senior managers are warming up to the idea of allowing certain employees to telecommute. For certain, these workers must hold job positions that are compatible with the concept. And they have to "earn" this accommodation through proven performance. That said, the concept is gaining popularity. More than 3.1 million professionals in the U.S. telecommute for more than half of their working hours, which is a 76 percent increase since 2005, according to the Telework Research Network. And 20 million employees work from home at least one day a week. You can expect such requests to increase, because four of five workers say they'd like to work from home at least part-time. Clearly, a CIO can't move forward with these arrangements without giving the topic a great deal of consideration. After all, telecommuting can impact productivity, work quality and the safety of your organization's data assets. So to establish some guidance, Janco Associates has developed the following "best practices" for CIOs and other tech managers on telecommuting. These best practices are part of an extensive report from Janco titled CIO IT Infrastructure Policy Bundle.

  1. It's management's responsibility to decide which jobs can telecommute 
  2. Telecommuters should demonstrate appropriate independence and accountability 
  3. **Managers should allow one week's notice before terminating a telecommuting agreement 
  4. Employers should reimburse additional expenses of telecommuting 
  5. Telecommuters should work the same number of hours as other employees 
  6. **Caregivers must be used if dependents are present where the telecommuter works 
  7. Telecommuters should participate in mandatory meetings 
  8. Corporate data and sensitive information is company property 
  9. *If the telecommuter uses her/his own equipment, the company is not obligated to support same 



Virtual Work

"The Third Wave of Virtual Work" is a fairly interesing article in the January-February 2013 Harvard Business Review by Tammy Johns and Lynda Gratton about how knowledge workers' work has changed vis-a-vis physical presence: 1) email and remote access let employees work from home, 2) mobile technology let all employees work wherever and when they wanted to, and 3) new spaces and practices are emerging to reduce the physical isolation of virtual workers. 

Here is the executive summary (full piece at the link above) -- 

In three major waves of change over the past 30 years, employers and workers have converged on new arrangements for getting knowledge work done. First, home computers and e-mail spawned an army of freelancers, offering both workers and employers new flexibility. Next, mobile technology and global teamwork gave the same kind of work-anywhere, work-anytime flexibility to full-time employees, without asking them to forsake career progress and development within their companies. Now, in a third wave, new ways of providing community and shared space are curing a side effect of virtualization—worker isolation—and driving increased collaboration.

(From HBR: Jules de Balincourt, Big Globe Painting, 2012, oil and acrylic on panel, 90" x 96"

The authors write that to make the most of this third wave of change, employers should rethink the compact they forge with workers. Five fundamental aspects of knowledge work require fresh thinking: the value of the relationship with a larger enterprise; the settings in which work is done; the organization of workflows and how individual contributors add value; the technologies used to support higher achievement; and the degree to which employment arrangements are tailored to individuals.

The three waves of transformation surge forward at differing velocities across sectors and geographies and mix together in societies. Understanding how your business participates in each wave will help you make wise decisions about technology, work models, talent sources, and people practices.