Parallel systems power creativity and efficiency

December 17, 2012 Emotional Intelligence  No comments

Mary Parker FollettIt seems that whenever I come up with a revolutionary new idea it only takes a little more  research to find someone who had the same insight……before I was even born.  This week’s blast from the past comes from Mary Parker Follett (1868-1933).    Not only was Mary admired for her smashing hairdo but she was selected by President Theodore Roosevelt as his personal consultant for her expertise as a management theorist.  Mary espoused a process of “power with” instead of “power over” and pioneered the understanding of lateral processes within hierarchical organizations.

Parallel Operating System

This system of interrelated coexistence is highlighted in the November HBR “Big Idea” Accelerate![i] by John Kotter l.[ii]

By providing a parallel system traditionally hierarchical organizations can maintain current efficiencies while using the energy of a collaborative community to encourage contributions from all levels of the organization.

The benefits of using a secure, private, transparent, “Facebook Style” collaborative tool like Chatter are virtually endless but here are twenty just to get you started.

  1. You can create a positive resource focusing attention on energizing and empowering ideas.
  2. Connecting a geographically and organizationally diverse group of Team Members.
  3. Team Members are highly motivated to only submit their best ideas.
  4. Leaders have a vehicle to nurture Team Member ideas.
  5. Everyone is encouraged to participate.
  6. The organization benefits from the creativity of the masses.
  7. New ideas are generated and/or improved upon by the collaboration.
  8. Cultural and departmental biases are ameliorated.
  9. Learning is expanded because everyone becomes both a teacher and student.
  10. Communications skills are enhanced for everyone in the process.
  11. Feedback is immediate, diverse and apolitical.
  12. Personal agendas, “lies of omission”, and organizational positioning are all subject to enhanced scrutiny.
  13. Leadership is encouraged from every layer of the organization.
  14. You create and organizational knowledgebase searchable by keyword and historically accurate.
  15. The every prevalent “nobody tells us anything” is replaced by “what have you done to know or contribute?”
  16. Alternate career paths may be explored through exposure to other departments, ideas and projects.
  17. You enhance the sense of community, inclusion and the opportunity to be a part of something special.
  18. You help to reduce personal and organizational biases that can distort sound business reasoning.
  19. Privately hosted and managed tools reduce demands on limited internal IT resources.
  20. A community is a far better coach than any one individual.

Collaborative tools are also available in desktop applications as well as apps for iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and Android.  You can connect with your Team Members to work together and be more productive. Updates on the people, projects, and files that you care about most are automatically pushed to you, so you always know what’s going on.

[i] How the most innovative companies capitalize on today’s rapid-fire strategic challenges and still make their numbers by John Kotterthe Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership, Emeritus at Harvard Business Schoo

 [ii] Incidentally this is the same school that denied Mary Follett a doctorate on the grounds that she was a woman.

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