Real learning is a part of the work, not apart from it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Stop Censoring and Start Managing

I recently read Clark Quinn’s post on the Social Media cigarette break and how he points out that Social Media is being used outside of an organization’s IT infrastructure because organizations are blocking their worker’s access rather than educating them and providing guidelines. He further says that employees are finding their access via mobile means and circumventing the system to get the information from their social networks. In Clark Quinn's words:


"It says a lot if you feel you have to restrict your employees instead of letting them know what the expectations are and ensure that they can follow the guidelines."


Yes it does. Ultimately I think the lack of clear guidelines and the quick manner in which organizations turn to block access is simply a failure of leadership. It is easier to block access than to do what they should be doing; Managing.

When I was first hired at Pearson Digital Learning several years ago I remember inquiring of my supervisor what my office hours were to be. She paused, looked at me puzzled and said something to the effect of umm, well I guess most people come in around 8 Her next response told me volumes about who I was about to be employed by… Honestly, I really don’t care if something takes you 2 hours or 20minutes, you just need to have it done when it is to be done.


You see, she didn’t manage people’s time, she managed for outcomes. She trusted the process, she trusted the tools, and she trusted the people she hired...why wouldn't she?

And she managed well. Projects were fleshed out, time tables set, deliverable dates established, milestones created, status meetings held… but everything in between was up to me. Whatever I needed was provided- tools, resources, time etc.

Within my first 2 weeks I was asked to learn all I could to accurately document the development process on a proprietary tool that was being brought back from the dead. I proposed the idea of using IM to communicate and collaborate in real time with a former employee in an effort to capture all their knowledge. "Great! - Go for it" is all I recall her saying. And that was it, no more needed to be said or asked. Complete trust.


I was hired to do a job. If I had chose to use my time flitting around the Internet or using early SM tools to do more chit-chat than productive work it was going to catch up to me. I wouldn’t be able to hide for long as my inability to meet deliverables or quality standards would lead to termination.

So I wonder, if an organization feels compelled to block access isn’t it really a failure in management? If we don't trust people we hire, why are we hiring them??

Oh, and Alice Bauder, wherever you are, thanks for managing for outcomes and not managing me... Thanks for the trust.
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