Communicating Versus Collaborating
by Arnaud Henneville, Jan 20 2015
The last thing you want in your company is for people to ‘communicate’.
Today, all social media tools for the enterprise are just that; communications tools. People go there (or not) for ‘communication’ purposes. When they do, they have very friendly discussions. Sadly, those very conversations serve no purpose – at least, not the purpose of the organisation. Eventually – and interestingly quite rapidly – they (employees) realize that they are wasting their (valuable) time. They learn that water-cooler discussions do not advance their agendas, do not help them achieve their KPIs. And to the despair of the VP of Communication, they cease to ‘check-in’ altogether. We all know what happens next…
So, here is the bottom-line: Communication and Collaboration are 2 completely different things.
Communication is nice but if you are managing people it should not be a top-priority for you. Jeff Bezos puts it like this:
Communication is a sign of dysfunction. It means people aren’t working together in a close, organic way.
“Communication is a sign of dysfunction. It means people aren’t working together in a close, organic way. We should be trying to figure out a way for teams to communicate less with each other, not more.”
Collaboration on the other hand – as you have probably learnt the hard way if you have people-responsibilities – is the most trickiest thing to achieve. Why? Because people (employees) ‘just don’t do it’!
That’s right; People just don’t collaborate for the sake of collaborating. They collaborate but only when they need to. Why? Because ‘collaboration’ is seldom something one is measured against. So if ‘collaboration’ is no-one’s business and everyone’s problem, we need to motivate it because otherwise it just does not happen. ‘Collaboration’ needs a context, it needs a burning platform, a higher purpose.
What’s more, ‘collaborating’ with ones direct co-workers is one thing – working across functions, regions and breaking silos for the greater good is a totally different thing.
As disappointing as it may be, the advent of ‘social’ has not changed anything; Employees are still around to advance the greater purpose of the company. And that’s why your CEO and your manager want you to collaborate, not babble on Yammer.
The conclusion is straightforward; ‘Facebook@work’ (and all the other social collaboration tools) do not work and will in fact never work.