Don’t make collaboration easy. The greatest value comes from tackling the hardest and most complex challenges.
Confusing Ease and Adoption
A lot of the focus of community managers promoting adoption of collaboration solutions when starting out is how to make it easier for employees. Rightly, community managers want to make it easy for employees to make sense of the solution and to create a positive and harmonious environment that doesn’t attract opposition from the at times hostile organisation.
However, an excessive focus on ease can undermine a community. Adoption of new ways of work requires a sense-making process of how to integrate the new ways of work into ongoing patterns. Make it too smooth and people may not have to think about what changes.
Worse too much comfort can undermine the clarity of the purpose of the collaboration. If all conflict is whisked away, if only good news is discussed and only easy things are done, employees will soon abandon the platform because it doesn’t ‘feel like work’.
Adoption is far more about delivering employees an opportunity to be clear on the purpose and value of collaboration than it is about making it easy for them. Go too far in doing the work for your employees and they won’t bring their participation or their biggest challenges.
Hard Work is the Valuable Work
Organisations need collaboration solutions to address challenges and to realise opportunities that can’t be delivered by the usual silos and processes. Fixing things outside of the system is not easy but it is the most valuable work your collaboration network can do.
Community managers need to invite complex challenges into their communities and invite employees to contribute their best talents to their solution. Without the contribution of a whole organisation’s worth of ideas, insights and efforts the hardest & most complex challenges won’t be solved and as the community probes, senses and responds its way to a solution.
Complex challenges bring difficulties, failures and conflicts. If they were easy, they’d be solved by now. Inviting a community to tackle the big valuable issues means things are going to get hard and you need a community that is mature enough to have some grit and use its degrees of freedom.
Disequilibrium is a part of any change process. If you want the highest levels of value with scales and agile change then you will need a great deal of disequilibrium. The disequilibrium will facilitate change and new perspectives.
Don’t make collaboration too easy for your organisation. The best value and the best challenges will require some difficulty. Provide clarity on the work to be done and promote the passion and persistence to finish the job.