Harold Jarche: E20 & HR are talking different languages!

It’s been already two weeks since our last virtually “extended” E20 Meetup in Paris on the role of HR and OD in Enterprise 2.0 initiatives. We have already published the transcript of tweets in this Storify document.  And while this format has its own challenges in regards to the moderation and the language issues (so far the E20 Meetup in Paris was an intense exchange of the French speaking locals – with the virtual extension and live streaming we eventually have to rethink this setup!) the topic of the evening put up some even more challenging issues.

Though I wanted to get further than the results of the discussion of the E20 Meetup in April, we ended up again at the IMHO  “pivotal” dilemma of E20 initiatives:

In order to fully realize its potential E20 initiatives need a new culture, the culture is depending on a new mindset about how we define work and value generation, this culture and the depending mindset can only be defined by HR and OD as the departments in charge for these things, but the HR and OD managers are locked to their day-to-day routines of managing and controlling “human ressources”, in general they do not have the directives to elaborate new cultural mindsets and therefore will not actively support these projects.

And even if the HR & OD departments are involved in projects about re-thinking the corporate working culture, they are not yet fully understand the potential of the social technology stack and its principles (see the Ying & Yan comparison) as a mean to enable the change.  And as Harold Jarche pointed it out in our session: “the real problem is that we [E20 evangelist on the one side and HR & OD on the other side] are speaking a two different languages”!

In my monthly briefing with the E20 Practice Group of N:Sight we have also been discussing this dilemma – especially against the backgroud of the shared practice of Continental AG. At Continental AG the joint effort of a HR driven cultural project and an IT driven E20 infrastructure project led towards a strong transformative movement in the company. So a critical success factor for E20 initiatives is to link to HR & OD projects or to get HR & OD executives on board for the project – and to translate the E20 principles into the context of HR & OD methodologies. This is also what the next #e20s is trying to support!

Therefore looking forward to your comments.