Posts Tagged business process

Is Big Love really just Marriage 3.0?

By all accounts the television drama Big Love which airs on HBO draws around 5 million viewers a week.  The series tells the convoluted story of a man with three wives and a mess of children trying to get by in a world full of challenges, temptation and increasing complexity.

It seems to me that producer Tom Hanks and the rest of the crew are missing a huge market segment.  I’m pretty sure that, based on the popularity of web search terms, they could double their audience simply by renaming the series Collaborative Love and billing it as Marriage 3.0.

I can see the blurb in the television guide now:

Bill Henrickson (Bill Paxton) employs new collaborative processes as he seeks to raise the reproductivity of his non-traditional family organisation.  Family members wrestle with issues of empowerment, communication and organisational conflict.

Looking at the show through this lens you can see our current business struggles pale in comparison to the challenges Bill faces.

Bill struggles continuously with the conflicting demands of his role as family leader, and generally does a good job of creating the vision for his family and then allowing the various wives and business partners the authority and responsibility to move the team forward.

Still, when Bill puts his hands on his hips and says, “Doggone it, honey, this family is my responsibility and I’ve made my decision,” if you squint you can see a bit of Jack Welch vestigal tail poking out of the back of his Mens Wearhouse suit trousers.

Did you watch the season finale last night?

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Got an email monkey on your back?

Ok, show of hands – how many of you have tried to move off of email and onto a more functional platform-based communication tool at work?  Wow, that’s a lot of hands.

How many have actually succeeded?  Yeah, that’s what I thought.  Not so many.

Like Michael Corleone said, “Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in!”

It’s pretty widely acknowledged that email is like kryptonite to collaboration.  Conversations are not intuitively threaded, information gets buried in each user’s personal data repository and new additions to conversations have no contextual awareness.  Argh.  Someday we’ll find the silver bullet that will kill that productivity-sucking demon, but for now it’s harder to kick than heroin.

Which is why it’s so cool that someone has figured out a way to add a lot of the platform benefits to email, at least at a personal level.  cc:Betty has a solution that automagically accumulates and organises information contextually as you email.  There are no downloads and the front end looks pretty spiffy.

If you can’t quit email cold-turkey, maybe ccBetty is the methadone you need to help tame the email monkey that’s clinging to your back.

What do you think?

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What’s your view of collaboration?

Practically every executive I meet with these days wants to talk about collaboration.  The interesting thing is, in most cases it quickly becomes clear that what they really want to discuss is optimising delegation.

While moving from “command and control” to “communicate and collaborate” is the stated goal of many leaders, you don’t see very many of these actually relinquishing command.  Most think they are collaborating when in fact all they are doing is spreading the responsibility more widely.  And in that case, to quote an old expression, “Unless you’re the lead dog the view never changes.”

One of the potential benefits of improved organisational communication is the power of democratising the business. Today’s use of collaboration as a buzzword is eerily reminiscent of the “empowering the worker” jargon of the 80s.  A lot of companies talked about it, but only a few led the transformation and capitalised on the benefits.  To those few the strategic advantage became huge.

So it’s interesting to talk to business leaders today and hear them talk about change, and it’s fascinating to discuss new technologies and innovative business process, but at the end of the day, more often than not, the real transformation of their organisations will only occur through a careful self-analysis by these executives, and an actual commitment to personal transformation.  Because unless they are truly willing to trust the team they’ve built, and distribute not only responsibility but authority, it’s all just academic.

What does collaboration look like to you?

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