Culture is really important for collaboration technology to work in a group or organization. If the culture isn’t right, “collaboration” as a human process expressed through various communication and collaboration technologies can’t take root. I met with a new client earlier this week to talk about a senior management attempt to encourage “collaboration”, but the stories the two people I met with told about the organizational culture made me write the following back to them:
- “Collaboration” will fail at your firm, because of lack of trust. Eg, the remote offices mistrust head office, which means there are some major interpersonal issues to overcome.
- “Collaboration” will fail at your firm, because of lack of freedom. Eg, you two are hand-slapped for going to talk to other people at head office (talk!). Collaborative activity doesn’t flourish in tightly controlled environments / dictatorships.
- “Collaboration” will fail at your firm, because of lack of two-way communication channels. Eg, you aren’t allowed to talk to or engage with the remote offices (the very people who you are supposed to be helping to “collaborate”).
- I didn’t add it at the time, but I should have also said: “Collaboration” will fail at your firm, because you are scared about being overheard by other people. Eg, during the meeting, both people lowered their voice when they were telling stories about how way things worked at the firm.
So … four big strikes against “collaboration” (co-work, joint effort, pulling towards a shared and embraced vision):
2. Dictator-style leadership
3. No communication
And senior management thinks they’ll be able to implement “collaboration” by using collaboration technology? Yeah right … I think not.