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« Just Do The Right Thing | Main | Learning to Hope. It's Hard. »

January 15, 2009


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Mike Sachleben

Shooting from the hip, here!

It starts with leadership, I think. A single person (or at most a small management team) has to say, "This is important to us". Then they need to tell people WHY. That's the step that seems so often missed - the WHY.

Then to scale: Communication which leads to Community. Both entities have to find a way to start a conversation, have it be authentic, and nurture it so all parties feel that they are building and participating in something special. The tools are enablers. It could start with a forum then have regular meetups over the phone then sponsor contests within both organizations for a special in-person outing (Hawaii anyone?). A manager would be responsible for nurturing that community and sense of building something special that is larger than the individual company... but then, I'm sure you know about THAT one!

In the end I don't see any magic to scale in the scenario you've described. As long as people know WHY they are supposed to do something, and they feel encouraged and rewarded for doing it the scale will build and the bond will strengthen.

Hope I didn't shoot too far off the mark! Sometimes my aim is off when I shoot from the hop.


Rachel Happe

Hi Mike -

Thanks for stopping by and I agree - it won't happen without leadership and sponsorship but I would love to hear about companies who have actually attempted something like this...and made progress.

It may be that simple...and that hard but there are a lot of other factors that come in to play with the large organizations - cross-cultural issues, language issues, regulations, pay/incentives, etc. - a lot to adjust to create the environment that would foster aggressive collaboration.


YES! "Scalable Intimacy," that is THE challenge.

You nailed the core problem, I think: managing the many-to-many dialog. Are there tools out their to manage distributed, multi-party conversations? RWW lamented the lack of such a thing in a CRM-oriented post a few days ago ( I think they are talking about this same hole.

In a way, GetSatisfaction is an analogue of it. Some mutation of that, perhaps; dedicated to the monitoring / participation / activation of a businesses social graph.

I want that. Better yet... I want to build it.:)

Todd Smith

I've been thinking about this for a while and I'm starting to think that it's not really possible to scale relationships. How many one-on-one relationships can you really have?

My thinking right now is that social media is a wonderful way to meet people and build valuable relationships. But it's not possible for me to be that intimate with 30,000 people. I only have so many hours in the day.

On the other hand, it is possible to build a community around your business that may be the next best thing. Forums and blogs come to mind as especially good ways to get people talking with each other in your space.

It's like hosting a party. The host can't have long conversations with with every guest, but guests will entertain other guests and in the end everyone thanks you for a great party--and has a warm feeling about you for it. And comes back again.

The same can be true on a blog or forum.

David Locke

Within a firm, disucssions are not many-to-many, anymore than they are in database relations. In facilitated dialogue, one person talks, and everyone else listens. The discussion is serialized. Many one-to-one, or one-to-many discussions may be taking place, and the parties may overlap.

All of this leaves us with a Flash animation where we annotate each conversation relative to all the others by giving each one a track. That mass of discussion is documentable and actionable. The flow of ideas can be traced. Capturing the time and content is the remaining problem.

A simpler solution is a social network map, and the transactional histories. The significance of all that discussion is that at the end of the day they amount to a transaction. This means that we can be economically indifferent to the actual discussions and just measure the outcomes, the sum of those transactions.

There are many different kinds of transactions: monetary, informational, physical (distribution and logistics), and even emotional or psychological. I wouldn't want to measure the emotional.

Yes, they can thank your for a great party, and wasn't that the point. You got your emotional transaction. Goal achieved, so the CEO of the party did good. What will you spend your bonus on?

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