The illustration above comes from a book by Rob Cross called "Driving Results Through Social Networks" which is about how to leverage informal networks within your organization or cross-organizational teams. I'm giving my copy away, but that isn't the point of this post.
I am still thinking the Cloud, Storm, and Tower keynote that Mark Pesce delivered at ConnectingUp Austraila where he suggested that nonprofits need to "look more like a cloud." The visual above sort of illustrates Tower organizations versus Cloud organizations.
Let's go back and dissect one of Mark's points:
Change your organization's culture, work style, and tools to "look more like a cloud. He said:
If you can permute your organization so that it looks more like the cloud, you’ll have an easier time working with the cloud. Case in point: because of ‘message discipline’, only a very few people are allowed to speak for an organization. Yet, because of the exponential growth in connectivity and Web2.0 technologies, everyone in your organization has more opportunities to speak for your organization than ever before. Can you release control over message discipline, and empower your organization to speak for itself, from any point of contact? Yes, this sounds dangerous, and yes, there are some dangers involved, but the cloud wants to be spoken to authentically, and authenticity has many competing voices, not a single monolithic tone.
My practitioner brain went right into the weeds, or rather Twitter and I posted this question:
I used the hashtag #answerbeth and lots of retreats and some responses:
"I think there's a portion of ppl in our org who are "cloud" people, but upper mgmt still resists it, hence a clash."
First, we use a customized build of Salesforce, which the Salesforce Foundation has donated to us.
We use google docs, chat, spreadsheets etc. We also use flickr, wordpress, facebook, twitter, ning and we use a cloud based file backup called DataDepositBox, ADP for payroll - using their web interface, Vonage for phones...
Morgan Sully suggested that a lot could be learned from studying cloud culture. He pointed me over to a study of Networked Culture which is a project of the Institute of Network Culture and an organization devoted to open research in the nonprofit sector, WeKnowMore.
But what Pesce is really talking about culture change inside the tower organization to be more effective deploying social media tactics and to work with the Cloud.
Still more unanswered questions:
Can a Tower "look more like a Cloud" and still be Tower?
Can a Tower morph into Cloud or do Towers have to fall? (And Clouds rises from the rubble)
How can Tower and Cloud style of working co-exist within a nonprofit organization or network of organizations?
I think that the concept of wirearchy is between the hierarchy and the cloud and is very much aligned with what many non-profits strive to be. One problem with NP's is that they took their governance structures from for-profit corporations and these are obviously not optimal for the type of work they do.
Ah, a delicious new word: WIREARCHY
"a dynamic two-way flow of power and authority, based on knowledge, trust, credibility and a focus on results, enabled by interconnected people and technology"
The site asks what it means for you?
As a Leader - become deeply aware of - and truly mindful about - the scope and reach of interconnected markets and flows of information. Understand how people are connecting, talking, sharing information. Be prepared to listen deeply, be responsible, accountable and transparent.
As a Manager - become knowledgeable about online work systems and how the need for collaboration is changing the nature of work, generally - and the nature of managerial work specifically. Learning how to be an effective coach is all-important.
As an Employee - become more aware of the changing nature of work, and the traditional structures of authority. Develop a clear understanding of how to be both empowered and valuable and of service. Understand how to navigate on one's own through a constantly shifting landscape of work.
As a Citizen - understand the possibilities and responsibilities inherent in open and public dissemination of information. Understand and exercise the responsibilities of citizenship in a country. Understand how to have influence via electronic participation and collaboration.
And finally, I'm finished with this book and don't want to pack in the moving van that is coming in a few weeks to move us from East Coast to West Coast. So, I'm giving it away. If you want a copy, leave a comment on this post answering this questions:
- How is your nonprofit working or trying to look more like a cloud?