A very interesting thing happens to such an organization when implementing SharePoint. Borders cease to exist and the hierarchy of levels change dramatically. Often this is like a nuclear bomb going off in the middle of the organization which ripples’ changes the organizations’ structure irreversible. In most cases this is unforeseen by the organization itself and when not guided properly; it can have dramatic effects.
This brings me to the learning organization at two sides. When the organization is not adaptive enough and able to learn from outside and inside forces and phenomena, then often such an organization fails to implement the electronic collaboration platform within time, budget and resources and in many cases they fail totally and lose a lot of money, trust and market position. On the other hand, when an organization is adaptive enough and flexible enough to learn, then the implementation of the collaboration platform is often (partly) a success or will be made a full success later down the road; cause they adapt and kill the obstacles blocking the way.
There are legitimate reasons why investing in leadership is worth the money and the time and what positive elements are of that leadership. What I see in the market is that most SharePoint implementations that fail are combined with bad leadership or a lack of leadership and not enough consciousness about the matter at the strategic levels. The Core leadership and management skills are not well covered or not covered at all concerning the SharePoint implementation. The implementation is done as an afterthought, mostly guided by the technical levels and not well communicated to the other levels in the organization; in short, it is badly guided.
There are many leadership elements which could be mentioned here to be upgraded around a SharePoint implementation. Two key elements of leadership are for me directly applicable to my daily work: providing effective leadership and people management. If all other things are neglected within the organization but these two would have enough attention, than most SharePoint implementations specific and electronic collaboration platform implementations in general would have much more chance to succeed.
One other solution to this problem could be participative policy making where staff can make different contributions and where sharing information is key. The organic approach can bring more flexibility to the SharePoint implementations needed to adapt the proper leadership styles and effective management. Adopting such strategies can lead to greater levels of adaptability and flexibility at an individual, departmental or organisational level.
A fundamental ingredient for strategic success is where leadership is concerned with the creation of knowledge, designing the organisation in such a way that employees’ expertise are concentrated strategically throughout the organisation and encourage them to share their own knowledge
An organisation should encourage the development of shared mental models that will provide the basis for successful action. This entails how groups perceive and interpret new information and how to use stored information with the new information in any given situation. This could be from memory for from written documents (Pearce & Robinson, 2009; Hayes, 2002)
This brings me to another analysis I made. What I see happening is that after a successful implementation of SharePoint specific or an electronic collaboration platform in general is that the organization is very much more able to adapt and learn. This is interesting. What elements does an electronic collaboration platforms have that enforces this learning capabilities of an organization? The answer to this could save organizations a lot of money and could even lead other organizations to start implementing SharePoint specific or an electronic collaboration platform in general if this implementation makes the market position stronger by increased adaptive possibilities and organizational learning capabilities.
The organization should indeed encourage the development of shared mental models, but these mental models must be made visible in the first place. A SharePoint implementation or an electronic collaboration platform implementation has one final important characteristic: it increases the communication flows and transparency of that communication (when implemented properly) and makes it possible to analyse how groups interpreted this and new information and this could be the basis for further organizational learning.
Another very important aspect I want to emphasize is the combination of new and stored information leading to structured new brain waves of the organization to learn and adapt. Another characteristic of SharePoint or an electronic other collaboration platform is that information can be stored that come from many different sources. This is invisible for the users. They search and the search will extract that information from many different resources. Another characteristic of such a platform is that smart filters can be applied to that search so that only relevant data is returned. These filters, when applied properly, could lead to an enforcement of the learning capabilities of the employees of an organization and this can lead to greater adaptability by the organization itself.
Another interesting thing can be mentioned here: “Is strategy first and then structure or is the other way around?” When related to this example of implementing SharePoint or some other electronic collaboration platform; then my conclusion is strategy first and after the right vision and strategy comes the product, structure and implementation. Part of this strategy could be; “we will define and add more strategy after the introduction of the structure…”, because this structure could enforce the strategic capabilities of the organization.
To finish this post I want to give you a hypothesis which has to be further investigated:
Hypothesis: the implementation of an electronic collaboration platform (Sharepoint) within an organization can make that organization more adaptive and capable of being a true learning organization on all relevant aspects.
Yes, it’s a bit of a huge hypothesis, but hey….you have to take some risks sometimes.
Down file is an investigation in England on why it is still justified to invest in leadership and some ingredients on the matter.