Netagoraphobia, definition and cure

images-2thumbnail.jpegDo you kno netagoraphobia ? Nevertheless it is becoming a very important stake on the internet and on the webizing intranet. By the way don’t look for this word anywhere else, it seems I invented but a lot of people are already aware of that. What’s agoraphobia : the fear of large spaces and by the way the fear of crowd, the opposite of claustrophobia. The less we can say is that people are close to become claustrophobic in silo-build enterprises : no way to get out the precise role they have in the process, limited right to have initiative, impossibility for searching transverse ressources and competence…and, obviously, communications and interaction tools that goes with all that. Nothing possible excepted what is supposed to be. Bye bye innovation…
Enterprises trying 2-0 things are aware they need to give space and intiative to their partners. I say partners car we don’t only talk about collaborators : clients, suppliers, subcontractors are also partners of the extended enterprise.

If we refer to the profusion of means people have suddently at their disposal, the average internaut gets a little bit lost. The internaut, which was used to be only a spectator doesn’t know what to do now he’s told to be an actor. And, fearing to do something wrong, he doesn’t do a thing.

We can fear the same thing will happen when 2.0 tools will take their place inside the intranets. Even if those tools are supposed to break down walls between people, walls everybody acknowledge they’re counter productive, they may not have the expected effect. First, because as a conditioned reflex, people may think it’s one more flash in the pan and will wait how the managers will act before  revealing themselves (what is considered as a big risk). Second because profusion of means doesn’t imply emergence of new uses.

On the contrary, we can have the opposite consequence : “but what will I do with all that now ? “. And, in order not to do anything wrong, people won’t do anything.

Conclusion : if it’s important to teach people how to learn those tools, it’s even more important to teach them what those tools are for,  in which way they’re useful for them and for the enterprise, what are the goals that are followed, showing examples of individual uses as parts of global dynamics. They will also need to see their managers showing the example in their daily work. With all that they will feel comfortable with their new tools, knowing what to do together and how instead of fearing doing something wrong or not knowing what they’re expected to do.
Nothing new since this note : one community, shared goals and practices. It’s an essential point you have to think about at the very beginning of the projet with 2.0 practices savvy people in your organization (or outsider specialists if you don’t have inside).

If you forget this common sense rule, your people will become “netagoraphobic”, lost in the field of possibles and shy in their initiatives.
A défaut vos collaborateurs vont se retrouver “netagoraphobes”, perdus dans le champ des possibles et timides dans leurs initiatives.

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Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler
Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler

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