Blogs as institutional memory and aids to teamwork

When I put people on a blogroll it’s because I read them. Just like by the time I implement it should show the music I’m actually listening to. In fact there’s probably a market for the equivalent of for blogs….someone out there listening?

Anyway, here are a few ideas  that did their serendipity thing on me today while I was reading other people’s blogs.

The first was at Accidental Light, where Malc was opining on self-healing organisations. Great post. And it made me think about institutional memory.

In days of old when job mobility and attrition were relatively low, teamwork and consensual approaches were easy to achieve in large organisations.

In team sessions individuals made sacrifices. Established their unease or disagreement with some stated thing, and once that was done, went with the team view. This allowed a Lencioni-like trust to operate, giving people the chance to express their concerns.

This capacity to make sacrifices as part of a team is critical to team behaviour. And one of the reasons people made the sacrifices was because they knew the other team members would remember.

As job mobility grew, this became harder to guarantee. People were less willing to make sacrifices, and consensual behaviour went out of the window. Why? Because they could no longer be sure who would remember the sacrifice.

And so we saw teams move as teams, to try and retain the memory. This happened in advertising, in research, in IT, even in aspects of trading. People moved as teams because they had created a trust relationship with a history of sacrifice and teamwork, and they wanted to retain that trust relationship.

Now we have blogs and wikis and IM. A digital environment. Dissent and concern can be established and recorded, and yet a consensual approach can be taken.

As for me, I haven’t quite got the hang of attrition and why it happens. I cannot for the life of me understand why any firm would plan for a level of attrition. I would prefer to prevent, not accept. Fossilfool me.

But maybe blogs can help.

More later on what happened when I read Park Paradigm. Next post.

Let me know what you think

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