Is enterprise 2.0 possible without positive thinking ?

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I’ll start with a statement that’s nothing new and won’t surprise anyone. We are all different, with our cultures, values, expectations, and even if things may look quite uniform at a local scale, the diversity of our world becomes obvious when we have to work in a globalized context.

In the same way, any idea, trend, concept, carry with it a part of the culture of those who created it. May we talk about jazz, gastronomy, democracy, basketball…they crossed the borders with their creator’s values and, as time went by, managed to become implanted in many countries by embedding a part of the local culture, being revisited by locals to become acceptable according to their own identity.

One of the charasterics of enterprise 2.0 is that it’ s tinged with positive thinking, something that’s very unfamiliar to us and that we can’t really understand before having many interactions with foreign people (even if we’re sometimes made aware of it at business schools…but nothing is like real experience).

Without going too deep into details, let’s say that that a culture that promotes certain values, where people always things they could improve things, make tomorrow better than today, where work and being successful at work are seen as means to improve one’s personal life, carries genes that are not neutral at all. It makes it natural and easy for people to explore new things, to engage with others and that becomes very interesting when a new field has to be explored, most of all with the topics that are ours.

This is clearly explained here:

Successful people act as though they have accomplished or are enjoying something. Soon it becomes a reality. Successful people often find themselves in situations where risk and uncertainty is hanging over them and if they were to take on a negative mindset then failure would rear its ugly head. Instead high achievers embrace risk and uncertainty in difficult situations and keep a positive outlook. Nine times out of 10 usually end up with the results that they had in mind all along.

Positive attitude is extremely important, as it encourages individuals to approach each day, and each problem, with a bright outlook. In a team environment, a positive attitude encourages a team to work together with individual styles and personalities. Positive attitude is not only about choosing to have a good outlook through good times and bad, but also about learning to love what you do. I have observed that outstanding business people are successful because they deeply love their work.

The french edition of wikipedia tells us that :

• it’s supported by moral qualities such as love and work, courage, compassion, résilence, creativity, curiosity, integrity, knowledge of oneself, moderation, self control, wisdom.

• collective value and ideals are : justice, responsibility, public-spiritedness, parenthood, support, professional ethic, team spirit at work, leadership, project and tolerance.

I can’t prevent myself from thinking that, not only the behavioral logics of enterprise 2.0 can be seen there, but also that everything that deals with deployment, adoption, often leverage these values.

I can’t prevent myself either to notice that, to be direct, our culture is quite the opposite. Not better, not worse, but different. Strict separation between private and work life, work seen as a constraint and not as something that helps self-fullfillment, mistrust toward enterprises and any attempt to “swallow” the individual, to lock him up into the group. I’m exaggerating on purpose but things are very close to that….

Once we acknowledge that, what conclusion should be drawn ?

Discussing the point that enterprise 2.0 could have been “invented” there and not here is pointless. Now that it exists, the focus should be put on how to implement it in a wise way (don’t socialize for socializing but to improve operations through socialization).

On the other hand we have to be inventive as for what’s about methodologies. Or a least lucid.

Most of best practices that comes from overseas have some things in common : with passion, by putting one’s guts on the table (direct translation from french but I think the message is clearer like that), it’s possible to convince others and bring them into a collective dynamics. Use the same message here and it will quickly become clear that building a project upon words like passion, evangelization, adoption…seldom works. Even the word “adoption” sometimes astounding in Descartes country because it does not sound rational for a cartesian-skeptic audience. Knowing that it’s easier to understand why even the concept of evangelist can’t  find its place in our organizations, being out of their lexical field.

This does not mean that it won’t work, it only means that something more rational and aligned with the targeted audience is needed. By starting on personal benefits rather than passion, on the enrichment of personal work before jumping on the collective bandwagon, in short by taking into account we’re addressing a population that discuss, analyze, debates, questions, argue by nature everytime some new comes to us, regardless to the authority it comes from.

But this is not a local characteristics. For instance I remember of a large company I’ll call X.  I heard people in charge of evangelization at X sharing their best practices. Most where from North America and Latin Europe. On the one side it was about passion, conviction, the search of a strong belonging, the pride to be a part of of group. On the other side : focus on personal tasks, awareness of people wanting to limit their social engagement, their exposure… Both were successful, but each one fitted a specific audience that reacts to specific stimulus (that’s also the evidence that local culture will always be stronger than corporate culture).

Enterprise 2.0 can work in countries where people love to analyze, question, discuss what the enterprise proposes to decide if we’re going to play the game or not. It will be more analytical than fun, more rational than creative. The only point that the country where Descartes was born and that inspired the rationalist movement in the 17th century can’t get rid of its past. And that’s ok.

So. I was saying that sense and alignment…..I let you finish the sentence….

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Bertrand DUPERRINhttps://www.duperrin.com/english
Head of Employee and Client Experience @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler
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