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9/13/2009
10:55 PM
Stowe Boyd
Stowe Boyd
Commentary
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Change Is A Red Herring

All too often, Enterprise 2.0 advocacy gets bogged down in a futile side issue: change.To those that feel out of step with a large organization, change may seem appealing, like aloe vera for the sunburned. But for the great majority of people caught up in the everyday frenzy of day-to-day operations, change may be as welcome as a skunk at a picnic.Euan Semple recently made the argument that change for change's sake may alienate those whose support is most needed: senior management and those in change of the most central business processes.

[The secret to success with Enterprise 2.0 ...]Don't try to get your powerful people to behave differently - they have everything to lose. Don't try to improve your existing processes - you will be seen to be breaking something.Focus instead on the things that are desperately trying to happen but aren't and the people who are desperately trying to connect but can't. Do things that make the impossible possible and your success rate will soar.
So there is a very pragmatic allure to propose the use of Web 2.0 technologies to rapidly start making inroads on things that haven't been done at all, or in areas where a tiny bit of push could have big impacts.I interviewed Lee Bryant of Headshift (now Dachis) last spring and he made a similar point, although specifically he said the conventional wisdom that people resist change is simply wrong:
[Open Enterprise 2009: Lee Bryant Interview]Lee makes the case that the meme about people being resisting change is a bit off the mark. People are open to adopting new things if they actually help, and will resist various vacuous arguments about ‘you need to change or die'' or psuedo-mystical mumbo-jumbo about emergent values and so on. He has found it best to position these tools in the simplest most straightforward and business-oriented way.
So, avoid arguments in favor of change as an innate good, and focus on practical and obvious areas where Web 2.0 technologies and business practices can quickly offer real and tangible benefits without disturbing mission-critical business processes or rocking the political boat.

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