Monday, June 28, 2010

Must Ask. Must Tell.

It sounds like a Monty Python sketch.

The most telling search I can use to introduce a new hire to the collaborative dynamics of consulting communities of practice is to shine a bright search light? On display: the compromised zealotry of an overextended consultant who needs the kindred consensual wisdom of the domain experts (a.k.a. group list in MS Outlook) in order to move forward with a proposal.

Even among the most self-assured practitioners the apology always grabs the lead. Every message is prefaced by the "sorry for the SPAM' proviso, meaning Please pardon this untimely interruption. I know I've just potentially added another item for you to check off from your appointed rounds today and it may have little or nothing to do with your own immediate priorities ... until you too seek the endorsements and experience of the crowd sourcing elites and find yourself offering up the same humbled state of manic curiosity.

This is real. This is sincere.

This can also be effective in a systemic and scalable way if the rules of the road are written to include the Must-Ask-Must-Tell ("MAMT") give-back. Before that mating call heads offline and skirts under the radar the information seeker owes it to the betterment of the community to post the most useful responses to SharePoint.

That's how interruptions become know-how pumping arteries into hearts of matters settled many times before. FAQs are not in and of themselves uninformed or brilliant. But frequently answered questions swallowed by poor documentation is a sure sign of a scatterbrained and underperforming community.

To sum it up: MAMT means that if you interrupt your colleagues for advice, the burden falls on the requester to share the counsel and attached IP they receive. if you’re going to spam your colleagues you have an obligation to share what you learn. 90% of all CoP messages have no follow-on thread. That’s not so much due to hoarding but to not wanting to cause further distractions to the community. The answer is to cc: the CoP discussion board (or the KM grunt).

Here's the platitude it serves: Establish leadership communities that inspire and reinforce the sharing behaviors to develop a sharing culture.

I think the social norm – at least in terms of sharing – is maybe 1-2 degrees of separation over email. Any more extended than that and trust factors drift out of one's immediate circle. The model is still in-network. But the collaboration is based more on a friendly rivalry than an extended peer group.

The compliance rate for documenting epic projects has doubled over the past two years. Is that because everyone wants to reinforce sharing behaviors or because no one wants to be seen as an IP freeloader?

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attentionSpin is a consulting practice formed in 1990 to create, automate and apply a universal scoring system (“The Biggest Picture”) to brands, celebrities, events and policy issues in the public eye. In the Biggest Picture, attentionSpin applies the principles of market research to the process of media analytics to score the volume and nature of media coverage. The explanatory power of this research model: 1. Allows practitioners to understand the requirements for managing the quality of attention they receive 2. Shows influencers the level of authority they hold in forums where companies, office-seekers, celebrities and experts sell their visions, opinions and skills 3. Creates meaningful standards for measuring the success and failure of campaigns and their connection to marketable assets.