Some important ideas

jet trail by kevindooley

Can Software Make You Smarter?:
[Via A Journey In Social Media]

No, but I think it can make you more successful.

Yesterday, I was talking to our HR group — an “all-hands” type of thing — and I wandered into a few interesting areas that I thought important.

One of the things we’re noticing on our platform is that people are becoming, well, better people.

You’ve Probably Never Heard Me Present

When I’m comfortable with the topic and the situation, one of the things I do well is “channel” — I can dynamically improvise presentations. Much like a musician who improvises (BTW, I do that too), sometimes you end up in a very fascinating place — if you’re lucky.


During one of his recent talks, Chuck Hollis, a Vice President at EMC, channeled this – online conversations appear to generate leaders faster than normal approaches.

It may be that those people with leadership capabilities were already there but that many businesses have developed processes that shut them down (i.e. Not Invented Here or We have always done it this way).

Online conversations do not seem to shut off these ideas; the natural human feelings of helping the group overcome hierarchical dominance. Just as the old Internet saw states that “On the Internet, no one knows you are a dog”, they also do not know that you are a very important person whose ideas MUST be listened to and whose opinions REALLY matter.

The ability to stop discussion by appealing to position is much, much harder online. Thus we have things like this appear:

As everyone knows, one of the fastest ways to shut down an original thought is for someone to say “we’ve always done it this way”, or “we tried that before”, or “it’ll never happen”.EMC is not immune to this kind of thinking. But, for some strange reason, it has essentially disappeared from the discussions online.

The thread is more “how could we do this differently”, or “here’s what we learned the last time we tried this”, or “maybe, just maybe, this could happen”. A spirit of positive optimism has emerged, which has in turn infected most (but not all of the participants).

The more people use the platform, the more this behavior emerges. I’ve gone back and looked at early conversations from the same people, and I can see a definite positive, optimistic bias in people’s mindsets.

Conflicts arise faster but get resolved quicker, with much greater buy-in from all the stakeholders. People understand why a decision was made.

They may not agree but understanding goes a long way. Knowing that your opinion has had a proper examination or seeing how your input altered the path chosen make people feel better. Chuck ends his post with this:

I told our HR team that our social environment is like a very interesting piece of audio equipment. It tends to filter out all the “bad noise”, and encourage the “good sounds”.

In terms of interaction, it minimizes negative behavioral tendencies, and encourages and rewards positive group behaviors.

I can see how people are essentially becoming better people the more they use the software, myself included.

Strange, isn’t it?

So much software is sold on the basis of improving productivity, or solving specific business problems.

How about making people better people?

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