Monday, November 27, 2006

Friends at Work

I recently read an interesting book that reminded me of a colleague-Wayne-who opened my eyes to the importance of meaningful connections in the workplace and how this can positively impact workplace climate and culture.

The book Vital Friends by Tom Rath challenges long-held assumptions people have about their relationships. And the team's landmark discovery — that people who have a "best friend at work" are seven times as likely to be engaged in their job — is sure to rattle the structure of organizations. This research and subsequent assessment from the Gallup Organization reveals eight vital friendship roles in your work and life.

  • Builder

  • Companion

  • Connector

  • Collaborator

  • Energizer

  • Mind Opener

  • Navigator

  • Champion

  • Based on this reading and the recent blog Social Networking: How do we become Friends? GK raised several questions, which may merit some further dialog:

    When considering how technology is used in the context of Social Networking, how would you answer the following questions:

  • How does one build this sense of sincerity using technology? What are some examples?

  • How does one connect with another using technology? What are some examples?

  • How do we create a safe environment for people to give and take opinions within a SN technology? What are some examples?

  • For me the bottom-line question is do we believe a culture of friendship at work makes a difference, and if yes:
  • What role should the organization take in fostering these relationships? and

  • What role does technology play?
  • Wednesday, November 15, 2006

    Prairie Doggin'

    Anyone who has worked in a "modern" office environment can appreciate the phenomenon that occurs with workers and their cubicles, especially when they are trying to solve a problem new to them: prairie doggin'

    This is when an employee pops up to see if their neighbor has a tactic or solution that would help them solve their problem.

    In a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, The Cost of Knowledge (November 2006), Al Jacobson and Laurence Prusak make the following statement:

    "'Knowledge management' in organizations has become synonymous with 'knowledge searching.' Web crawlers and other data-mining programs swarm over terabytes of documents and e-mails looking for clues that can help connect information seekers with sources. Clever icons adorning desktops promise to instantly deliver users to the right expert."

    They go on to state that by the year 2010 the sale of enterprise information-search systems will grow, tripling its current value to $2.6 billion.

    The breakdown by how "knowledge workers" spend their time include:

  • 6.2% scheduling meetings with experts

  • 10.2% searching for knowledge

  • 37.7% eliciting knowledge from experts (aka prairie doggin')

  • 45.9% adapting knowledge gained

  • How do some of the new tools introduced by social networking technologies (e.g., instant messaging, blogging, podcasts) factor in to the "daily workflow" of information searching, analysis and application? In other words, do these help "speed" up the search for information and solutions?

    Social Networking: How do we become Friends?

    I recently read an article in Psychology Today (DEC 2006) about friendship by Karen Karbo. In light of our discussion on social networking, I would be interested in your reaction to a couple of statements from this article:

  • The conventional wisdom is that we choose friends because of who "they" are. But it turns out that we actually love them because of the way they support who "we" are.

  • "Can I talk to you for a minute?" may well be the very words you say to someone who is about to become a friend.

  • We feel closer to people we do favors for. The fondness toward your yoga class buddy will continue to grow if she asks for a ride home.

  • A friend with too many opinions about our wardrobe, our partner, or our taste in movies and art may not be a friend for long.

  • Reactions? How does this play out when you introduce technologies of phone, blogs, podcasts, etc.?

    Friday, November 10, 2006

    Thursday, November 09, 2006

    Social Networking: Where?

    One used to think of the playground, lunch room, gym, or coffee house as the places to network. With the introduction of blogs, podcasts, and the ever-present cell phone, the next question is where are people networking today?

    Wednesday, November 08, 2006

    Social Networking: Why?

    Why do people participate in various social networks online? What is their motivation?

    Tuesday, November 07, 2006

    Social Networking: Who?

    Based on the definition "social networking is the use of a website to connect with people who share personal or professional interests, place of origin, education at a particular school, etc." [Webster's New Millennium™ Dictionary of English, Copyright © 2003-2005], my next question is who do you see getting involved? Is it limited by generation (aka kids, pre-teens, college-age), personality type, communication style or other?

    How would you describe the type of person who leverages technology to connect with others?

    Sunday, November 05, 2006

    Social Networking: What is it?

    The first question is a "what" question--future questions to include who, where, why, when, and how.

    When you hear the phrase "social networking" what comes to mind and what is included.

    You may want to check out the links on the right had side of the screen for a sampling of popular and new sites.