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March 02, 2008


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John Tropea

Hi Michael,

I posted on communities and informal networks, and in that post include an excerpt to a post by Jay Cross's in reaction to the McKinsey paper.
He mentions realising people get things done by networking is great (horizontal value), and offering tools that perhaps are better than email is great. But to formalise these groups is a mistake...what once was about sharing interests can expertise becomes work and deliverables.

Also about the "trust" factor, and the shared abstract (same wavelength) that makes informal networks immediately intimate.

What I do like is for management to realise these networks, such as "Sustainability", and promote it to a formal business unit...but if the network is a shared interest about a topic that is not core like a business unit, then leave it be.

I think it's a hard call: we talk so much about communities and social capital, but the moment we formalise already exisiting communities in our effort to promote social capital (ie. revealing them and telling people about them so more people are involved in the horizonal value chain), we may actually kill them.



Have you checked out www.keyhubs.com? A simple, online tool for mapping informal networks.

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