What's the 2.​0 of Enterprise 2.​0? Or, How to Be Emergent?

September 4, 2011 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Hat tip to Professor +Andrew McAfee for pointing out Do Happier People Work Harder? my nomination for Required Reading of the Day (#RRD).​ Teresa Amabile, a professor at Harvard Business School, and Steven Kramer an independent researcher wrote a great New York Times Labor Day opinion column.​ They cite sobering results from a Gallup-Healthways poll of 1,000 adults every day since Jan 2008: "People of all ages, and across income levels, are unhappy with their supervisors, apathetic about their organizations and detached from what they do.​" They also suggest that the problem is manageable - by what I would define as great enterprises.​

Over the past half-decade Amabile and Kramer researched micro-level causes behind this problem, collecting nearly 12,000 electronic diary entries from 238 professionals in seven different companies.​ The results support three important conclusions:

1) ".​.​.​ inner work life has a profound impact on workers’ creativity, productivity, commitment and collegiality.​.​.​ Conventional wisdom suggests that pressure enhances performance; our real-time data, however, shows that workers perform better when they are happily engaged in what they do.​"

2) "Gallup estimates the cost of America’s disengagement crisis at a staggering $300 billion in lost productivity annually.​ When people don’t care about their jobs or their employers, they don’t show up consistently, they produce less, or their work quality suffers.​"

3) Managers can help insure that people are happily engaged at work - I believe Peter Drucker would claim that's the primary responsibility of management.​ And doing so isn't expensive.​

Amabile and Kramer say:

"Workers’ well-being depends, in large part, on managers’ ability and willingness to facilitate workers’ accomplishments — by removing obstacles, providing help and acknowledging strong effort.​ A clear pattern emerged when we analyzed the 64,000 specific workday events reported in the diaries: of all the events that engage people at work, the single most important — by far — is simply making progress in meaningful work.​.​.​"

"Most managers don’t understand the negative consequences of this struggle.​ When we asked 669 managers from companies around the world to rank five employee motivators in terms of importance, they ranked “supporting progress” dead last.​ Fully 95 percent of these managers failed to recognize that progress in meaningful work is the primary motivator, well ahead of traditional incentives like raises and bonuses.​"

"This failure reflects a common experience inside organizations.​ Of the seven companies we studied, just one had managers who consistently supplied the catalysts — worker autonomy, sufficient resources and learning from problems — that enabled progress.​ Not coincidentally, that company was the only one to achieve a technological breakthrough in the months we studied it.​"

That's good news - but not really news.​ An enterprise that makes great use of the creative talents, enthusiasm and unique expertise of its people can gain a sustainable competitive advantage and be a great magnet for attracting and maintaining talent.​ Look at Apple among others.​

Technology can't create a great enterprise, but it can open the door for innovation in how any enterprise operates - from micro to macro scale - including how it operates with external stakeholders, customers and suppliers.​ This opens the door to another form of strategic as well as operational advantage.​

I've persistently said that the 2.​0 of Enterprise 2.​0 should refer to a conscious rethinking of how an enterprise can work more effectively and creatively, using Web technology to enable "action at a distance" and connections spanning barriers of space and time.​ Web technology is necessary but not sufficient for this kind of innovation at scale, although Doug Engelbart's work clearly called this shot decades before the Web.​

I'm no sociologist, but Amabile and Kramer seem to support the view that socialization in the context of everyday work - rather than as a separate "social" duty while at work - may be best.​ I don't think people know how to "be emergent", but people are very good at discovering and developing unexpected relationships in a context where many values and norms are shared - at work.​

Repeating points from Enterprise 2.0 Schism in 2009: 1) It's not just the technology; 2) It's not just the people; 3) An effective organization is a social invention that is created or shaped to serve extraordinary ends, and that may be the most valuable invention of all.​

"The purpose of an organization is to enable ordinary humans beings to do extraordinary things.​" ~ Peter Drucker, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices (1974)

See Amabile and Kramer's New York Times column, and read their July 2011 book The Progress Principle (Forbes interview).​

Do Happier People Work Harder? By Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer New York Times Sunday Review, September 4, 2011

G+ discussion on +David McRaney's The Illusion of Asymmetric Insight and how emergent behavior is not all unicorns and rainbows.​ Think Lord of the Flies

Need for Incentives, and other Innovation Myths - The most powerful incentives are intrinsic, not "pay to share" games.​

Enterprise 2.0 Schism - Why Doug Engelbart and Peter Drucker should be declared Patron Saints of E2.​0

Peter Drucker and Enterprise 2.0 - Drucker Centenary Nov 2009

Doug Engelbart | 85th Birthday Jan 20, 2010

See G+ for original post and discussion

Enterprise photo courtesy US Navy.​ Strictly speaking CVN-65 is Enterprise 8.​0 - the eighth US Navy ship to bear that name see enterprise.navy.m…

I don't know what a picture of an "Enterprise 2.​0" might look like, and don't want to use any of the stock photos of smiling folk around a laptop that are about as convincing as socialist realism posters of smiling tractor factory workers.​ And all the good Star Trek Enterprise photos are Paramount's copyright.​