Collaboration Overview

IMG_1592

I don’t normally do straight link blogs but in this instance I’m going to make an exception.

Michael Sampson has written a great set of notes from “Creating a Collaboration Strategy: Aligning Solutions to Business Needs

Sometimes someone writes something that is music to my ears (eyes), and this is one of them. Collaboration is one of the areas of office productivity that I think IT has a long, long way to go. I think the reason we haven’t got their yet is because we haven’t done enough to understand the soft-skills issues of common office/team activities – meetings, document review, etc.

Cognitive Overload – I don't get this at home

Bolton Abbey

Today is one of my ‘working in the office’ days rather than working from home. It’s been over a week and I had forgotten how difficult some things can be in this environment.

I am currently trying to listen into a teleconference, it’s not very load and there are a number of people in a room talking, sometimes all at once. Here in the office the person next to me is on the phone, in front of me is a small meeting area where another group of people are also on a teleconference with a speaker phone. Behind me are two more individuals in an open conversation. This keyboard I am using is not the quietest either.

Result – cognitive overload. I should be able to listen in to his call without giving it my utmost attention but I can’t. I even find myself having to close my eyes in order to cut some things out. it’s a good job I don’t have to contribute much to this meeting. I definitely don’t get this at home that’s for sure.

The Seven Day Coffee Reduction Plan

My Coffee Mug

I have now done seven days running on only one cup of coffee a day.

I have never been a fan of ‘cut down’ plans, but this time it seems to be working for me. there were just too many occasions when I wanted to sit with a coffee for me to completely cut the pleasure out all together. But one a day if OK, as long as it stays at that level.

Let’s see how much further I can go. Perhaps I might even develop a habit. Seven days down, thirty three to go.

The Power of the Corporate Event – The Relationship Event

Arches

I have just watched one of the videos from u2log.com (Into the heart) and was nearly in tears seeing a boy joining Bono on the stage. Why is that?

  • Is it because I was jealous? No
  • Is it because I thought the boy was special? Sort of
  • Is it because I was empathising with the boy? Definitely.

There is something inherent in the human nature that bonds us together. I don’t know this little boy, he’s from somewhere around Chicago I suspect, but that’s all I know about him. But I have far more in common with him than not, we have a bond of humanness. This boy could easily have been my own son, Jonathan, or even me when I was younger. Both of us would have been buzzing from the experience, as I am sure this boy was.

The whole u2log is a real testament to the way in which modern blogging can bring together communities of interest in a new way, but really only reflecting our human need to connect and relate. We were made to relate.

Home Working Productivity Assessment

Coins in Tree

The results of a few days working from home are included in the table below.

I have expanded the definition to include use of Instant Messaging because there is a good deal of interaction that happens that way to.

I thought about adding in something about comments raised on blogs, but realised that I am like many in the blog world. I complain that I haven’t had many comments, but do very little of it myself.

I’m still  not fully set on the weight scale that I am going to use. At present I don’t think it really reflects the quality elements of the study that I am wanting to capture.

It’s been a real eye opener on the number of emails that I actually do something with. I’m not sure whether that’s because I’m lazy, or because I actually do a reasonable job of filtering down to the important ones.

 

All I need to do now is actually go into the office.

(Had to move to a picture of the table because the HTML table was getting messed up, and as HTML tables are a black art  couldn’t be bothered working through it)

The Difference a Role Profile Makes

Millennium Ribble LinkThe blog is a follow-up to the one I wrote the other day on Role Profiling – Does it have any value? In this blog I asked myself the question:

  • Does a role profile really make a difference to an organisation?

This blog ought to be one of those with loads of links to other people’s thoughts and ideas, but actually I didn’t find much on blogs to link to, and it was difficult to know which of the web sites could be regarded as authoritative. I do, however, have access to Books 24×7 which is great for getting access to information when you need to read published literature which comes with a certain level of authority. I used to dislike the online reading experience, but I am becoming more comfortable with it. All I need know is a tablet and then I can read in a format which is more like the book format.

Anyway, here are the results of my research.

Role profiles are a tool, and people use tools for many things, sometimes correctly, sometimes incorrectly – to the man with a hammer every problem is a nail. Where this particular tool works well is in a situation where there is a clear definition of the business objectives. The role profile being linked to those business objectives. In making this clear link the contents of the role profile doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone because the objectives are already known, understood and owned by everyone in the enterprise.

The role profile’s job is to communicate what the company regards as important for a particular role, with a clear link to the objectives. And that is where it gets really interesting as far as I am concerned, because many companies then connect a role profile with a salary and seniority. But actually that shouldn’t be it’s job, that is using the hammer to fix a screw. Especially when related to the type of organisation that I work for.

I work for a knowledge organisation, the knowledge is the organisation. As such, one of our key objectives should be to be a learning organisation. We need to keep renewing the knowledge assets, in the same way as a car company or a mobile phone company needs to keep refreshing the product. In refreshing the assets though, we need to know what the attributes of the assets are that are important to our customers (existing and potential) so that we have something to sell. That is where the role profile could come in as a tool to help us to understand the knowledge assets that the company wants to build in us, and then to sell to our customers.

But this isn’t just for the companies benefit. As an employee I gain value in two ways. Firstly I gain the knowledge assets. The assets are built in me. You can have a whole debate about IPR if you like, but I can’t take this knowledge out of my head. Secondly, I gain, because I have a clear understanding of my value to the company. And this is where salary and seniority should come in, but not as a direct result of the Role Profile, but as an assessment of my value to the organisation.

Where organisations have managed to define clear objective and to communicate them through a role profile or similar mechanism they have managed to build a learning culture which is focussed on delivering the assets that others want to buy.

I’m not going to comment here on how my own employer is doing on this.

Evening Walk by the Canal – Some Thoughts

Millennium Ribble Link

Last night while Jonathan was playing football, Sue, Emily and Myself decided that would enjoy the beautiful sunny evening and take a walk from Preston Sports Arena (where Jonathan was at football), down the Canal towards the Ribble Link, do a little circuit and come back.

There is something very special about these times. Walking and talking in a beautiful setting does me so much good. It was great. Emily was skipping along and just enjoying the sites, the sounds and the smells.

Sue and I saw the rubbish and the graffiti, Emily didn’t. She saw the little wild flowers and the grasses blowing in the breeze. It reminded me of a great book I once read Mister God, This is Anna. In the book the little girl sees the good in everything and radically changed the lives of those around her. She didn’t change any of the circumstances, she changed them. Emily was just the same last night, she revelled in the good. She delighted in the mallard ducks and their chicks. And she changed Sue and I.

Millennium Ribble LinkJust at the entrance to Ribble Link is this statue. it’’s come in for quite a lot of comment locally because the man actually looks a bit like he is urinating into the canal lock that is there.

But I love his face, it’s so characterful. He really looks like he is contemplating all sorts of things. Faces are amazing things and an artist can speak so much through a face.

I am personally quite shy of looking into others’ faces. Something in it means that I have to connect with them. It’s like I am able to see into them, and worse, they are able to see into me. But really that is what the human spirit is about, connecting, relating. Without connections we are nothing.

As a Christian I believe that God wants to come and connect with us. He wants us to look into His face and in so doing see inside Him, and he inside us. Lots of people approach the Christian faith from a rational point of view. Some of them wrestle with God to the point that God reaches them, others don’t. Personally I didn’t wrestle with God, He came and He met me. God didn’t change my circumstances, but He did change me.

Millennium Ribble LinkI include the picture of the feet, just because I like it. Big feet look strange and show us the size of the individual above.