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4 ways of being productive DESPITE the organisation and how YOU can help

Was looking at the "Knowledge Worker 2.0" slide show* and these 4 facts were thrown up half way. I think they highlight how all of us struggle, day-in and day-out, to be productive within organisations:
  1. 70% of Folksonomy are not in Taxonomy: Jennifer Trant on project
  2. 86% of workers use an unsupported tool at work to boost productivity: Zen and the Art of Rogue Employee Management, Yankee Group, 2007
  3. 75% of workers in big (1001+ employees) companies rely on each other, not management, to solve problems ... 37% ignore company rules because they have a better way to get things done: The Informal Organisation, Katzenbach Partners, July 2007
  4. SAP has nearly 9,000,000 people involved in its community helping each other develop solutions and solve problems around SAP products. In any one month, over 10 per cent actively participate by posting: Mike Prosceno, Vice President, Global Communications, SAP (Social Media Today Podcast, 18 April 2007)
(full slide share at the end of this posting)

What does that mean to you ( as CEO, CIO, CTO ...) and I?
It means it's happening in your organisation. It's happening by your staff. You are probably acting this way yourself and nodded your head with a wry smile to at least 2 of the points above.

What can you do to help lessen the staff's pain? Because it is a pain. They have to sneak around, install tools, ignore rules and constantly justify their actions. Whilst there is a wee bit of "living on the edge" and "I'm no corporate man, I do what I want", it gets tiresome after while for even the most rebellious of us.

What you can you (as CEO, CIO, CTO ...) - be honest. Stand up and say, "We know you're doing and we don't care. You do whatever it takes (legally) to get the job done to meet our outcomes! And we support you in that"

If you're management ... try these three things on Monday:

1: Tell you IT Department to remove at least one "lock down" feature
Maybe let people change the home page of their browser to something that's not the company intranet (if your staff don't want to read it, your staff aren't reading it).
Or how about letting people use webmail (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail and the like). It'll shift a lot of traffic off your own mail servers and as webmail is merely a web page like any other any perceived virus threat should be handled by your standard company virus checking.

If you get push back from your IT Department you'll now know who runs the business.

2: Install one piece of 'non-standard' software that your staff are already using.
You'll have to go and talk with them to find out what they're using.
Then, download it, install it and see why it's being used. Once you discover why (probably because "it works") you'll be able to approach your IT Department and ask, "Why isn't this standard?"

May I suggest that you use something that not only "works for the staff" but is involved in communications - maybe Instant Messenger (MSN, Yahoo! Chat, Google Chat ...). You'll not only get to see what people are doing but be able to join in.

3: Remove at least one policy that people ignore - and make a big noise about it.
Maybe the smoking policy (people get it, you don't need it in the tome called the policy manual). Perhaps the alcohol policy, or the dress code policy or even the travel allowance policy - we're professional adults you hired for a reason and don't need to be told how to dress appropriately, not be pissed in front of clients and that $500 for lunch is taking the proverbial.

All of these policies are probably ignored by everyone at least once a week. Removing them will cost your organisation nothing but send a huge message to staff that we aren't working in Nazi Germany and that we can think for ourselves.

After you've check out the whole of "Knowledge Worker 2.0", these might be a nice way to relax into your new Monday plan:

* Gotta love SlideShare. It's opening up slides and letting people get their idea across without having to be present. This is an excellent use of Powerpoint as get to 'hear' the speaker but not have to hear the speaker merely read them to me.