I have been a great believer in the value of opening up organisations for themselves, online collaboration and collective problem solving. However, I’m starting to fear it’s just another fad.
The reason I’ve become a doubter is that I think a lot of executives who are at the steering wheel at a great deal of companies do not find it relevant listening to their employees. Are they rather convinced that executive teams are meant to make decisions and ignore the crowds? Well, this is at least my impression. Say, have you lately heard of any people really believing that their boss would initiate actions in order to improve its toway communication with his workers? What sense would that make? Listening to the crowds is simply far too time consuming and does not lead anywhere, or what?
Outdated management models?
If my assumptions should happen to have any resonnance in the real world, why is it so? I think it is because still it’s really difficult for executives to see any money of reasonable size coming out of spending time on ones employees through two way communication. After all, there are decisions to be made, normally with a tight time limit. Involving takes time, I agree.
However, a lot of corporations’ business models now are their ability to deliver high quality services meeting complex problems. Then you’re likely to find it useful to have a lot of people working on the problem together with you at the same time. That’s the art of collaboration. So do not executives force their employees to become better knowledge sharers? Executives must know that there are heaploads of money to be saved on enabling their people to work smarter?
To me it seems like collaboration, solving complex issues togethes is left to online enthusiasts within industries operating mainly online. Online shopping sites (Wikipedia, Amazon, online news sites, and more) attract lots of readers and comments. But why cannot companies apply the same logic to its leadership models?
Show me the money
How come it is only academics (and Wikipedia’s architect Jimmy Whales) who are prasing collaboration? Gary Hamel goes on about the future of management and scraps today’s management principles. Morten Hansen writes a book on collaboration where he provides valuable hints on what kind of collaborative initiatives in what corporate context that actually facilitates value creation. Great! But does it help? Do they actually trigger more transparent organisations generally speaking? And most importantly of all: does collaboration create value for companies?
I’d love to hear anyone disagreeing with me and providing me with optimism and good examples.