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Collaboration and the Zombie Apocalypse

Posted by on January 11, 2012

Tools are never enough for anything and never will be.  If I handed you a cyclotron, a spectrometer, or an atom smasher (yes, all physics tools) you would probably end up hurting yourself (as would I).  The same goes if gave you a bulldozer, some wood, bricks, and concrete and asked you to build me a house.  We aren’t idiots right?  I mean, when we raise our kids we spend a lot of time investing in their education, teaching them and showing them new things.  Why then when it comes to anything enterprise related do we assume that all of this goes out the window and that a “tool” is the only thing we need to be successful?

We’re getting lazy and we’re getting complacent.  We want to get more but want to do less.  We are focusing too much on ourselves and not others. We want to say “we tried” when we really didn’t and we want people to be able to figure things out on their own without helping them.  This isn’t good enough.  We should be better than that…we NEED to be better than that.

This just isn’t going to work.  If it didn’t work for you as a kid while growing up and learning about the world then why should it work for your employees in the workplace?  We all need help and we all need to learn all the time, it’s how we grow and it’s how we challenge ourselves.  When we stop growing, learning, and challenging ourselves we become zombies at work who use typing on a keyboard all day as a way to substitute our eating human flesh…ya, not good.

I remember when I was a young kid playing soccer.  I had practice 2-3 times a week, always working on and improving my game.  We had skirmishes, drills, and then some orange slices and cold water.  Now we’re  lucky to get the cold water!

The point is that we need to get to the basics of education and training; not because we want people to learn a new technology that benefits the company but because this is just the right human thing to do. We should always want our employees to learn and grow.  I absolutely hate hearing stories about companies who try deploying new tools expecting them to “viral” without even bothering to provide any type of education or training.  I don’t know why or how this “genius” idea came about but I can assure you, it’s a far cry from a strategy.

The thing is results take time and they take work.  If your company truly wants to succeed with collaboration then it will and that’s all there is to it.  No more lame excuses about how “we tried to deploy something and nobody used it so we killed it,” sorry but that’s bullshit; try harder.

Wait a minute, am I really saying that lack of education and training will breed workplace zombies?  YES!

If companies keep breeding zombies then one day they are going to wake up wondering why someone just took a big bite out of their arm.  And we all know what happens when a zombie bites a human, we get another zombie…

  • he he cool!

  • That is so true. As an author and business man, I can relate to how you said “If companies keep breeding zombies then one day they are going to wake up wondering why someone just took a big bite out of their arm”. I hope more people discover your blog because you really know what you’re talking about. Can’t wait to read more from you!

    • Hi Daniel, thanks for the comment and the kind words, much appreciated!

  • Anonymous

    The theme is sensational. 

  • Too right. Training is nearly always an afterthought for tech led transformation or even just straight tech implementations. At project planning stage, when given a choice between a reasonable training budget and another server rack in the corner, it will always be the latter. In more enlightened organisations, training is moved further up the food chain. Only when this happens can you get anything like an Agile approach to training development and delivery. That is a style of training intervention that mirrors the transformation itself. 

    Digital communication now enable earlier, better and more regular engagement and communication between training developers and the workforce. Co-design, development and delivery of training across the workforce is now a real possibility. Lets call it User Generated Training; a much more personalised, human and, dare I say it, more effective form of tech training creating zombie free zones. 

    • Thanks for the comment Andy.  It’s interesting because I just read a report (I think by Infoweek) saying that many companies deploying internal networks are actually failing with their deployments.  People forget that training isn’t just about learning how to use a technology but understanding WHY to use that technology.

  • Companies tend to look at the ROI of all tools… and a lot more so than all trainings. For them, the telephone must have an ROI. But guess what! It has zero ROI if you don’t use it as the tool it is and pick up the phone and book the appointment, call the lead or congratulate the new client. Tools are tools, always will be. Its what we do with them that counts!