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More on Gartner's Five Collaboration Myths- 2


Much thanks to Jeff Prillaman for pulling together his list of Enterprise 2.0 conference: Boston Notes, Quotes, Tweets 2 keep  I think it's an excellent list and definitely provides some food for thought.  The first link was very interesting to me and as Gartner Identifies Five Collaboration Myths I felt each myth warranted more discussion.  Let's look at the second:

2. Collaboration is inherently a good thing

Many organizations can’t articulate what benefit they hope to achieve by employing social media to become more collaborative. This decreases the likelihood of achieving a successful implementation. The most successful social media initiatives solve real business problems. The KPI impacted must be real and relevant to the business.*

I'm a bit confused by this one.  I do believe that collaboration is inherently a good thing, but I also believe there are bad ways of collaborating.  However, the supporting text speaks to "social media" for collaboration, which I consider to be something entirely different.  Let's look at them both in a bit more detail.

In order to see benefit in collaboration there must be a common end-goal that everybody involved is driving toward.   The common end-goal could be as basic as sharing a set of information with a set of people, or as complex as bringing together internal and external department leads to discuss a complicated and strategic change in business direction.  In both of these examples the benefit has been articulated- sharing information among those who need to know and initiation of business transformation that's beneficial to the company.  Not only are the impacts real and relevant to the business, but the collaborative efforts must go down the organizational stack as well as across to align focus with otherwise disparate groups.  That said, attention must be paid to not over-collaborate or collaborate for the sake of collaboration, which wastes what would be otherwise productive time in unnecessary collaboration activities.

The second piece is the mention of social media for collaboration.  I view social media as a method for collaboration and that method may or may not be the best way to collaboration, which is what I think is being said in the myth statement.  Social media can be a viable way for collaboration (intra and inter company) to occur, but only if the collaborative process brings together the right people and is focused on a common business goal.  I think a challenge with using social media as a collaborative environment is that it's primarily asynchronous.  Yes there are "click to" capabilities to initiate a synchronous call or other collaborative events, but for the most part social media is a post, notify and go-to scenario that opens itself to a many:many contribution/consumption model.  Social media becomes a great tool for broadcasting current activities, sharing knowledge and having a historical reference of collaborative events.

In the end, I think collaboration is inherently a good thing, but I think without identifying common business goals and aligning efforts to meet those goals most collaboration efforts will not deliver the expected value to the company.  Social media is a viable method for collaboration, but not necessarily the best and should be considered on a case by case basis.

Let me know your thoughts on this one.  Am I misunderstanding the point or do you disagree with what I've said?

Click below to view the earlier posts in this series:

Myth 1- The Right Tools Will Make Us Collaborative

*Gartner Identifies Five Collaboration Myths

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