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Bridging the Great Generational Divide

Old_New_Collaboration_TechnologyThe current professional landscape is rapidly changing as 7 million members of Gen Y are entering the workplace. They currently outnumber every other generation in the global workforce as Matures and Baby Boomers retire. This is creating a significant generational divide as the work ethics and attitudes of Gen Y are exponentially different from the Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers who are hiring, managing, and working with them.

With Gen X being the smallest demographic, members of this generation are facing a unique set of challenges as the “sandwich generation” in the workforce. In conjunction with the skills and preferences gap, many employers lack an intricate understanding of the basic strategies needed to hire and engage the best people from Gen X while continuing to develop and retain more senior employees. And many Gen X’ers lack the knowledge and motivation to rise to the top and become leaders in their industries.

The first step in tackling these generational issues is to understand how each generation views itself, the workplace, and those they work with. Here is an infographic that explains some broad differences between the four major generations in the workforce today.

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Your Team Is Connected, But Are They Connecting?

Team_connecting_CollaborationThere’s no doubt that most teams in the corporate world are connected 24/7 thanks to modern technology. From smart calendar apps to help keep track of appointments and projects to joining online meetings, all of our workplace tasks can be handled right in the palm of our hand.

Because of these great business collaboration tools, you’ve conquered the first hurdle of having an effective team—being connected. But while they may be tuned in to work and available at the sound of an incoming email, that doesn’t mean they’re actually connecting as a team.

Workplace relationships are the building blocks to creating and nurturing a high-performing team. Connecting on a personal level in the workplace builds cohesion, a support system and a source of motivation.

Team-building activities are a great way to start bringing a team together—whether they’re working together in person or virtually. I’m sure your eye twitched at the sound of “team-building activities”, but they really are essential to breaking team members out of their shells and showcasing their true personalities.

Here are some possible team-building activities, for both in-person and virtual teams to try.Continue reading

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27 Simple Ways to Rejuvenate Your Collaboration Technology

Rejuvinate_Technology_Plant_HandA lot of collaboration technology projects start off with the best of intentions. You’re absolutely committed to setting up that competition and that launch party will happen. Well, eventually.

It doesn’t matter how good your intentions are, sometimes your other work (you know, that important stuff you do outside of collaboration technology) gets in the way and your project inevitably slips by the wayside.

Well, it’s time to breathe new life into your user adoption plan and get those users back on track and logging into your collaboration technology. Struggling to know where to start?

Here are 27 user adoption ideas, courtesy of digital collaboration pro Richard Harbridge, that should get your creative juices flowing. (Some of these are specific to Microsoft SharePoint but many ideas can be used for any collaboration platform).Continue reading

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Why Did My Enterprise Social Implementation Fail? – Part 2

Collaboration_Fail_Thumb_Down[If you missed part one of this article, you can read it here]

I recently spoke with a Programme Manager of a large multinational bank, who was in charge of rolling out social collaboration to 120,000 users globally. They had a few teething issues, one of which came from users not understanding how to use it. Not that they didn’t know how to ‘like’ a comment, it’s about understanding how to use it at work. One user asked “is this official?”.

What happened here is an example of rolling out the technology without managing the change in behaviour. Instead this change was expected.

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The Four Collaboration Mistakes You Need to Stop Making Today

Collaboration_MistakesThere’s something undeniably magical about collaboration and the energy unleashed by a group of people working on something together. It’s a little bit like the energy you feel when in a packed stadium when your favourite band plays – everyone knows the lyrics, everyone knows the songs and there’s just that buzz. It’s amazing.

When we try to create this collaboration buzz in our organisations, we often focus on building the stadium (ie we buy a piece of collaboration technology) and hope that the buzz somehow follows. We’re so focused on the stadium, we forget to consider what the band was doing that was so right that got people aligned around it. Worse yet, we forget the fans. The result? Empty collaboration stadiums.

On our mission to fill these collaboration stadiums, some common mistakes plague many organisations. Here are four major collaboration missteps you may be making (and some ideas on how to get back on track).Continue reading

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Case Study: 6 Lessons Learnt from a Largescale Office 365 Implementation

The Warehouse GroupThe Warehouse Group is a group of retail brands with more than 230 retail stores across New Zealand. Like a lot of businesses, they were heavily reliant on emails as their main channel of communication and collaboration. And like a lot of businesses, they reached a point where they knew they needed to find a better way of working: Multiple versions of documents, overflowing email inboxes and people on different versions of Microsoft Office. It was clearly time for change.

So in line with The Warehouse’s “better, simple, cheaper” ethos, (better for customers, simpler for team and cheaper for profit) they embarked on a journey to find a better way to communicate, collaborate and connect. This started with a roll out of Office 365 to their 2000 employees. Leading the people-centred side of the project was Christine Sewell, Head of Culture and Communications.

She revealed some valuable lessons her team learnt along the way, and some indispensable advice for others about to embark on the same journey during Enterprise Collaboration Tech Fest. Here are the 6 top takeaways from her session.Continue reading

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Why Did My Enterprise Social Implementation Fail? – Part 1

Collaboration_Technology_FailWith an increasing interest, investment and ‘sampling’ of social technologies within organisations around the world, a worrying mirror trend is also surfacing – adoption failure.

Social technologies are a unique solution. They are incredibly different to CRMs, ERPs, and accounting technology deployments. Yet they are being implemented using the same steps, processes and methodologies.

Let’s have a quick look at why up to 80% of enterprise social implementations fall short in success.Continue reading

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Why You Shouldn’t Ask Your Users What They Want

Collaboration_Technology_User_QuestionsIf you ask your users what they want your collaboration technology to do, they’ll probably come up with something like “improve collaboration” which doesn’t tell you much. This may be because they hear these kinds of platitudes way too often in technology projects (more on that topic later).

The more likely explanation is that they probably don’t know what they want. Yet… Don’t worry, they’ll get there eventually. With some help from you of course.

To get your users to tell you what they really want, you’ll first need to understand a bit more about how their minds work. Brace yourself!Continue reading

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Three Strategies to Secure Budget for Collaboration Technology Training

Piggy_Bank_Budget_Collaboration_TechnologyAny good project manager knows that training is an important part of a successful technology rollout. Training conveys information, skills and awareness in order to unlock the business value of your new tools.

These days we expect that everyone has a level of technology awareness that makes collaboration tools intuitive. For this reason, collaboration project budgets often skimp on training resources, limiting the investment to basic user guides, or point-in-time communications. And then when projects run behind schedule training and communication get further compressed limiting their effectiveness.

For whatever reason, enabling people to use the tools effectively, through ongoing training and support resources, is an often neglected element of the collaboration technology project. The tools won’t use themselves and without a clever and effective plan to build confidence over time, the real benefits of collaboration can never be realised. After all, if collaboration was something that was made easier by technology, wouldn’t we all be masters by now?

If you are struggling to justify the importance of training for your collaboration technology, here are three strategies that might help you unleash the value in your project:Continue reading

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Moving From Leader-as-Hero to Leader-as-Host

Leader_Hero“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

Anyone who has ever led anything knows that nothing to do with human beings and change can ever be described as easy. Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects, is that just like all the clichés say, any change begins with you first. It’s funny how often that gets disregarded in so many “organisational change initiatives”! So in that spirit of personal change let me share a little of my experiences at TATA and the organisational transformation that we are undergoing.

My personal change challenge could best be described as moving from “leader as hero” to “leader as host”.Continue reading

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