No Image Available


Read more from TrainingZone

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Web 2.0 in the boardroom & gorillas in our midst?


Having recently returned from Harrogate, I recall a significant amount of web 2.0 was being talked about. This included a session on 2.0 and HR, several of the exhibiters were using 2.0 technologies and there was a view that many organisations have yet to embrace this technology fully for:

• Internal knowledge management
• Networking (internal and external)
• Recruitment of generation Y and beyond

Seth Godwin the marketing guru and author in his blog claims that the very best people do not need CV’s and that the best people will be found and approached (headhunted) and web 2.0 certainly provides the tools to do that. This week in the world's press the story of Jonathan Chase (from South Wales) being found on the web by NASA and commissioned to write and perform an educational music piece is an example of this activity. Fortune favours the brave as the old saying goes.

Gorillas in our midst?
I have also just come across a concept called gorilla leadership. Gorilla leadership is a sort of reverse ‘back to the floor’, where knowledgeable front line staff are taken away from their normal place of work and get involved in senior management and strategy meetings. Their role is to short circuit team leaders and middle management, to share knowledge and inform senior management of any potential opportunities based on:

• What they know about customer needs and feelings

• What works and does not work in the structure and culture of the organisation

• And to predict the future impact on customers and staff of proposed product and organisational changes.

Is this another tool in the organisational development tool kit for employee engagement? This approach of building close relationships between front line staff and senior managers appears to be a real and innovative approach to 360 degree communication in a diverse organisation. A human world version of what web 2.0 aims to achieve. A model many entrepreneurs use in their firms – not least because of their size.

So perhaps web 2.0 is starting to educate us to take the communication concepts of transparency and true, two-way communication back from technology into the way we manage and run our organisations.

If gorilla leadership is the minority (few people can get fully engaged) what is the mass market equivalent? In the 1960s the concept of team briefings was developed by the Industrial Society. The team briefing booklets that the organisation published were used by many organisations in the 1980s, but in the last 10-15 years we seem to have thrown the baby out with the bath water as we strive to increase communications with employees – as almost every staff survey says we need to do more and improved communication with our people.

The team briefing concept
Team briefing is a powerful method for cascading information from the very top (business plan and performance against it) down through the organisation and back up again. Questions that were asked and answered (and not answered that required a reply from another part of the structure) are communicated up for feedback and replies communicated where necessary.

The team briefing system works because the approach involves a face to face meeting (often less that half an hour) as well as an opportunity for providing feedback. Typically meeting once a month, the information required will fit on a double sided A4 sheet. If it does not then it suggests that too much is trying to be conveyed.

Team briefings traditionally give management an opportunity to brief down and listen up. They are excellent at focusing direction, creating a culture of clear communication etc. Typically they are organised around business plan and departmental goals. As the process cascades though the organisation, the core brief is augmented by local team leaders. It’s easy to measure the result and track the impact on culture and communications over time.

And so we go full circle. I hope that this web 2.0 approach to management processes is remembered and implemented fully and widely. In difficult and challenging times often the best thing to do is go back to basics – albeit with a modern twist…

What do you think?

Mike Morrison

Got something to say? Add a comment below or start your own Watercooler thread by clicking here.


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.

Thank you!