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The journey ahead

Last Tuesday I woke up to what I thought would be a fairly routine morning when I’m not traveling. I leisurely peeled myself out of bed at 7am, brushed my teeth, showered, ate a hearty bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios cereal and then walked over to my home office (which right now is my breakfast table as my husband studies for his cardiology board exams in our study room). As I opened up my laptop and waited for Windows to power up and do its thing, I thought about the exciting organizational news that had just come out from our new Group Chief Learning officer in Windsor, UK of centralizing the learning function, becoming one integrated learning organization across the globe and developing new professional relationships with learning colleagues across the pond in the UK, Ireland, and Scotland.

That feeling of excitement suddenly began to dissipate with each email I opened and read.

I spent the next four hours reading and clearing a deluge of emails I had received overnight requesting learning data, information on training colleagues across North America, meeting invitations for upcoming conference calls and the like. One email in particular was a meeting invitation from a Learning & Development colleague in London whom I had never met before inviting me to attend and actively participate in a 4:30am conference call the next day. As I sat there wondering what I should do – accept the invitation, suck it up and wake up the next morning at 4:25am to join the conference call or politely decline and explain my reasoning why, I thought about the journey ahead of becoming one functioning, collaborative team with one focus to be customer centric and support the business.

(To be honest, my gut reaction was to send him the below image and educate him a little bit about the difference in time zones which I actually did politely later that afternoon via email and was very pleased that he acknowledged his cultural blunder and took it positively.)

Over the next two months I will explore through blogging at home and utilization of enterprise social networks (ESNs) and collaboration tools at work my personal journey as I live and breathe organizational and culture change as a Learning & Development professional.

To be quite honest, I am very excited about the journey ahead comprising of challenges, trials and tribulations, and celebrations!  Sarah Clayton, author of the recent HBR article https://hbr.org/2015/11/change-management-meets-social-media, claims that enterprise social networks today give employees an opportunity to be actively engaged “change agents” and an outlet to play a role in shaping the future by sharing ideas on future plans to support the transformation. She also touches on the “communityness” of these enterprise social networks and how they offer a space for members to discuss, collaborate, share practices and “create shared experiences” as a support mechanism when going through change.

One of the first actions our Chief Learning Officer took after sharing more about himself and the announcement to centralize was he created a private group in LinkedIn for folks to join and begin posting their individual introductions with a post titled “A little bit about me — Your Name.” This morning I saw that there are already 75 members in the group and quite a few folks (including myself) have posted about themselves, background, work in L&D and family as well.  I’m looking forward to seeing if we continue to collaborate in LinkedIn or if we move to another collaboration platform like Yammer, Slack or SharePoint.  I am also keen to see if we as a community will take networking and collaboration to the next level and actively voice and share our ideas on change elements like organizational design, governance, operating principles, methodology, design, delivery and other policies and procedures which will ultimately inform how we work together as an organization to support the business; or, if we will revert back to working in our current regional units or “sub cultures” to get the change work done locally.  Having furthered my education on learning and organizational change principles in the MSLOC program, I find there to be value in having an open discussion on these various change-related topics to embed transparency, build trust and ultimately work effectively on future projects and tasks as one learning organization.

I will be sure to mention in future posts our journey with the various social collaboration tools, which brings me to my reflection questions I would like to explore in this “note-blog”:

  • How do ESNs impact how organizations, its leaders and employees think about leading and executing strategic change?
  • In addition, how do ESNs themselves facilitate not just organizational change, but more specifically, culture change? What elements of ESNs seem to most resonate with members of the community during change? (the network itself, collaboration, sharing of practices, posting of videos and images, discussions, etc.)
  • Likewise, what are some of the impediments or challenges faced with collaborating in an ESN when experiencing change simultaneously? What technologies within the social network seem to make the change challenging, uncomfortable, etc.?
  • What are those small-wins of collaboration that seem to transpire as the new group begins to get to know each other and work with each other? What technologies and/or elements of these technologies help to make positive changes for the group?

As I live and breathe this organizational and culture change in the present moment, I look forward to documenting my journey with all of you. Till then, may the force (and all things technology in ESNs) be with me and you!

pna166 • April 15, 2016

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  1. Thyra Nast May 14, 2016 - 7:16 pm Reply

    Hi Pooja,

    I feel like this way of rolling out a new L&OD process (and the response from employees) is the opposite of some of the ones we have seen in other companies where they might just send out an email announcing there is a new platform, such as Chatter or Yammer. However, both seem extremely problematic – this kind of roll out is one that seems like it simply induced a great deal of anxiety and extra work, which gives these kinds of valuable initiatives such a negative connotation by employees. I look forward to continuing to hear how this process goes!

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