Every day I check the changes on the wiki of Componence to see what my team members added to our corporate knowledge base. And last week it finally happened; a post was made that made doubt whether Web 2.0 concepts like wiki were really that good.
The post was ‘What is the goal of Componence?’ and was submitted by one of my smartest team members in Ukraine, but very new. Various feelings (rage, sadness, doubt) and thoughts (did he forget everything I say, he’s not going to last long, how dare he) went through me and I remembered about articles that say IT managers don’t like Web 2.0 because they mainly can’t keep control. My fingers were actually itching to post, but then I remembered reports from Forrester and articles from Gartner who actually promote business to allow and adopt guidelines for Web 2.0. And deep down I knew that Serhiy is a person with great potential, but just needs some attention from time to time to keep his somewhat crowded mind focused on work.
So what did I do? I remembered the advice from Gerrit Willem, my co-director, to count to at least 20-30 and I just left the post as it was. I decided to wait to see how and if other team members would react on it. Eventually they did and most of them answered ‘Deliver value to our customers‘ and Dima, our manager from Kiev, replied back to him asking ‘what’s your goal within Componence?”.
In my opinion Serhiy was controlled and challenged by his own direct colleagues without any hard intervention from the management. This is what I think how (IT) managers can only hope to see from their people in these kind of situations where they think more control should be enforced on these Web 2.0 initiatives, like our wiki. Enterprise 2.0 brings the ‘online social factor’ to the business, but surely not only the personal freedom for expression but also the social control.
I guess if managers are able to create a professional environment where the majority of team members understands the bigger picture and support the collective business goals, then they shouldn’t be afraid for these online communities. Imho managers should do it anyway, as it is the only way to attract the younger generations of people to join the company as they are so familiar with online social networks.
I strongly believe that our wiki helps us to share knowledge and to have our people collaborate better together, but these kind of things just happen. Time will tell if Serhiy understands that these kind of posts are just not the way to profile yourself in the business community as this post will definitely have some reflection on his professionalism by his peers. But surely my understanding and my willingness to have Serhiy become successful within Componence, I replied on his post and told him that I was trying to lead Componence towards the Componence way …