I've been having an ongoing back-and-forth with a friend that has revolved around "the purpose of management." While the discussion has usually been about setting up the systems needed for the organization to be productive, there is a key element of the organization that cannot be ignored: organizations are made of people, and organizations get stuff done through the action of those people together. Through collaboration.
With that in mind, Six Tips to Create a Collaborative Culture by Jeffrey Cattel article in Talent Management piqued by interest. (Referenced by several people last week on Twitter.) The article starts talking about how many people see social software as "the answer" to making collaboration happen. Nope - social software won't make collaboration happen, just as having a SharePoint implementation won't make knowledge management happen. The six tips come from Jon Wolske of Zappos Insights:
- Define who you really are.
- Celebrate the small things.
- Encourage interaction outside of work.
- Lighten things up.
- Rethink the work-life balance.
- Get to know your co-workers on a personal level.
The short form is something that the Manager Tools guys talk about a lot: Your people are more effective when you know them as people. These suggestions strongly connect to the same idea for me. Let them know who you are and what you are about, but also get to know them and what motivates them. Encourage people to get to know one another so that the gears that turn in the workplace turn smoothly.
I have to throw in an opposite example too. Juxtapose these ideas about collaborative culture with The Five Biggest Mistakes Employers Make to Motivate Staff:
- Using fear
- Effusive praise
- Being vague about expectations
- Not consulting employees
- Promoting office rivalry
Just about the opposite of letting people be human and getting to know them as such.