A social network conjures an image of people connecting and sharing from personal to professional and driven by ones own interests. Although it can be large in terms of connections, the conversations can be small in nature which in my opinion builds stronger bonds between the participants. When Enterprise is added to the title, as in Enterprise Social Network, the nature of it all seems to change and the expectations tend to increase. The organization becomes the center point and work and profit are more the focus.
“Culture is an emergent property of the many practices that happen every day. Change the practices and a new culture will emerge.”
A few weeks ago we launched our ESN. And as we monitor, model and encourage, I take more stock of the small things; the many minor “shares” becoming the big things for that is what I believe are the seeds of a community.
For example I’ve watched (and participated some) the conversation about the purchase and use of a standing desk. Certainly not a direct impact on the bottom line. One employee posted that they had one, shared a photo and briefly wrote of it’s health benefits. As I passed through our office a few days later I did a double take as one of our Project Managers was standing and typing! Coincidence? I didn’t engage him but instead went back to review the series of posts and comments and noticed he hadn’t contributed to the conversation at all.
I proceeded to casually asked him about the desk and how it was working out. He explained that he was getting used to it and was working it in throughout the day. When I inquired as to how he heard of it he mentioned the colleague who originally shared as well as another in the thread of about seven different people. I openly wondered if it was because of them that he purchased it? He confirmed it was, as he knew both well.
Another two days passed and we got to talking again in passing. When I asked about the benefits of the desk he spoke about his increased energy. He shared that usually he fades around 4pm but yesterday had no such feeling. I expressed my surprise as I only thought about back discomfort being alleviated. When I asked him to share his experience in our network he laughed and said “I don’t Jive.” To which I smiled and replied, “apparently you do and owe it to the network to share your experience.”
At 8:00am the next morning he posted about the positive impact of the desk.
A new idea shared by a trusted colleague leads to an experiment with surprisingly productive results… and all openly shared.