Trust and empowerment are key

From a great post about the ESPN and USMC social media rules / bans:

You might not expect a corporate juggernaut like IBM to lead the way when it comes to creating effective social media guidelines for its employees, yet here we are: IBM was one of the first enterprise-size companies to not only recognize the need for such a document, but also to deliver an adequate set of guidelines within it that made sense and allowed its culture to spread. IBM recognized that treating its employees like responsible adults rather than dangerous little children might yield pretty good results.

Indeed. I’ve written about IBM’s Social Computing Guidelines before, and I’ve spoken about them at conferences. I’ve also repeatedly opined that blocking access is counterproductive. It’s important to note that the guidelines were written collaboratively, and they are linked to IBM’s existing standards of professional conduct (the Business Conduct Guidelines) which employees agree to annually. Folks at the leading edge of technology continue to inform and educate the rest of the organisation on good practices and behaviours in these online social spaces.

Let’s end with another of the many quotable extracts from Olivier Blanchard’s post today:

The risk here is not the medium, it is the behavior. Ban access to the medium and you solve nothing: The behavior is still there, only now, you are blind to it. Double-fail.

Oh, in case you’re new around here: I’m an IBMer. My opinions may differ from IBM’s official line from time to time, but that’s OK. My employer trusts me, and I appreciate that.

3 thoughts on “Trust and empowerment are key”

  1. Andy, agree totally. As I mentioned in response to Olivier’s post and on my own post yesterday, I think the big thing is that the IBM guidelines were really employee written. As Mark Cathcart pointed it, many employees were already using social media at the time. Which, really, is the same thing ESPN and others find themselves in now. The corporation almost always has to play catch up. But the key difference is that the employees most involved in these spaces were the force behind creating the guidelines, rather than the suits created guidelines on behalf of the socially networked employees. So while we (IBM CHQ) had to play catch up a bit with what employees were doing, putting employees in charge of it all made the difference.

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