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Transforming IT Culture: How to Use Social Intelligence, Human Factors and Collaboration to Create an IT Department That Outperforms by Frank Wander

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Chapter 8

Designing a Collaborative Social System

Working Social: How the Right Culture Unlocks Productivity

The fact is, culture eats strategy for lunch. You can have a good strategy in place, but if don’t have the culture and the enabling systems that allow you to successfully implement that strategy, the culture of the organization will defeat the strategy.

—Dick Clark, former CEO, Merck

In information technology (IT), a social system is not just a sociological term but the actual means of production. Our industrial-era command-and-control structure of departments and divisions established a formal hierarchy that has become the accepted way to view an organization. But other hierarchies drive the pace of work, both formal and informal, including ad hoc teams, cross-functional units, structured interaction with third-party partners, as well as the social hierarchy, which is different from the formal one. These hierarchies shift and move as projects and teams evolve. All of these structures work only if there is open and meaningful collaboration. Collaboration is a vital ingredient for project success, so every manager must build a collaborative social system where collaboration occurs throughout the social environment. It is a key to unlocking potential.

“Collaboration is a process through which people who see different aspects of a problem can constructively explore their differences and search for solutions that go beyond their own limited vision of what is possible.”1

At work, ...

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