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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Manager 2.0, Part II

In this second article in a series of five about managing in a Web 2.o framework, I will discuss points 4-6 of the figure found here.

Item four states: "Employees and teams challenge themselves. If one person or team succeeds, everyone wins." Employees should be give great latitude and more importantly, time, in their development. Management needs to insure however, that the development money spent rewards not just the employee, but also the shareholder. A good example would be an employee taking a basket weaving class. That class might really benefit an employee of Martha Stewart, but not necessarily ExxonMobil. Regarding rewarding "everyone" for an effort, hopefully, the work of the team or the individual is geared to the success of the company. In other words, a team win should, by definition, be a corporate win.

Item five states: "Informal job role created by employee, tailored to their strengths and interests, and changes all the time." Outside of the need of formal titles for compensation studies, this makes a lot of sense. As employees mature and become experts in their work, they should be able to move on to new positions, building on those strengths, and learning more about the business. Regular job rotation is widely regarded as a good thing and can be very manageable.

Items six states: "Emphasis on community." A company is a community of sorts, with different teams supporting the company as a whole. Good management practices are about aligning teams to create a well-organized and functioning business. While this corporate/community function is very important, arguably, customers should have the emphasis.

This discussion has left me with an interesting perspective. Web 2.0 concepts are generally positive, though strongly individualistic. While there is emphasis on team and community, much of these items focus on the individual and create tension with the natural and necessary authority in companies. Taking care of employees in general, and individuals in specific, is good for business. However, without a strong focus on customers and strong leadership, the Web 2.0 principles can lead to a lot of good work serving no purpose.

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