The importance of trust in collaboration

This post on HBR claims that the most important thing that enables collaboration is trust. Seems like a no-brainer. However, many companies when developing a plan for collaboration approach it with an high level of distrust of their employees. Many companies spend significant amounts of time trying to develop controls, moderation paths, and responses to imaginary misuses of social collaboration tools. However, what is found again and again is that, for the most part, people act professionally on professional social networks, just as much as they act unprofessionally on networks like Facebook.

Companies that establish social networking platforms need to trust their employees, both to do the right thing on the platform, and to refrain from doing the wrong thing. Giving users many reasons to use the platform in the right way is one step toward establishing the desired behavior on the platform. Rather than asking users to figure out how the technology should be used, giving them a set of structured reasons to use the technology, such as social project collaboration, social resource allocation, social issue management, etc., helps to establish the habit of using the platform for business reasons, rather than for exchanging recipes.

Companies hoping to gain significant returns for their social investment should choose a good entry point for social, such as social project management, and should rely on usage policies rather than monitoring techniques for ensuring proper use of social technologies. Just as wikipedia monitors problem posters very well, the social community of the company will monitor and report any issues within the firewall.

Trust your corporate social network, integrate it with business processes, provide them with structural guidance, and get out of the way. It will grow in ways you could never plan for.

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One response to “The importance of trust in collaboration

  1. Pingback: Trust and how to build it | |

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