Objection #10 stems from the “SOCIAL” aspect of social learning. In fact, in one conference session I gave one attendee said that they would never mention the word ‘social’ for fear that those who have an influence on the decision might get the wrong idea. Understood. “The employees will spend hours writing a blog and put of actually getting things done. Their productivity will go down.”
Answer: I believe I have told this story before, but I am going to again. A friend of mine, Josh Bancroft, (who created the famed Intelpedia for Intel) and I were gabbing one night at a Cub Scout function one evening. We were talking about success stories in the Web 2.0 space. One story he told me has stuck with me.
There was a person who needed to accomplish a task. To do so, that person needed to use a piece of software they had never heard of, let alone knew enough about to functionally use it. It would take months to learn it and complete the task.
Instead of forging on, they searched the blogs and found someone who mentioned that they did another project using the software. This second person was contacted and asked to help. Within a matter of a few weeks the project was done.
Now, tell me, how many blog posts was the efficiency gain worth? Add up not only the time saved by one individual, but the advantages for a quicker ‘time to market’ for this project.
As I have studied the use of Web 2.0 tools in the workplace, I have found that actually very little of it is what we would normally call ‘social’ or having absolutely nothing to do with work. But, again, do you limit what people say at the watercooler or over the cube walls? Even that is healthy (assuming it is within reason).
Within my company I am the one who keeps my finger on the ‘cultural pulse’ by leading initiaves, creating plans, and (of course) doing trainings that will help us have a more healthy culture. Just yesterday I wrote an internal post that covered how the CIA used to sabotage businesses – the shortened version is a quick, must read for everyone. It is something we can all learn and benefit from. But the point is we can all learn and then be able to solve business problems better because of it. It took very little time and is very valuable. And, overall, it helps the culture become more healthy.
So, wasting time? No – solving business solutions.