When before have we had so many questions about what tools to use and how to use them? In the beginning there were clear analogs: Computers were word processors, recipes files, and calculators. This last week has been non-stop discussion about what Google+ is, if and how it will fit into businesses, and whether Facebook having Skype is a big deal or not. This is true for the normal user and pundit alike. To answer these questions you must keep three dimensions in mind: people, technology, and organization. Since the 50’s work experts have been pushing these three dimensions. They called this sociotechnical systems theory. (Funny how that never caught on.) I call it being plugged-in. I don’t mean plugged-in in the “you have to be in the ‘in crowd,’” or that you have to know everything, but rather plugged into the system of your work and organization. You need to be plugged-in to your:
- People: who they are, what they know, what they could know, their culture (with both a little “c” - company culture and a big “C” - national culture).
- Technology Tools: The ones you have, the ones you could have, and a basic understanding of their capabilities (you don’t have to be an expert, just know where to find one).
- Organization: Policies, procedures, ways of doing things, and culture/norms.
If you manage via all three of these dimensions you can come to understand how new tools may or may not provide value, how to best integrate something new into your work, and/or how to move out old ways of doing things. You will dramatically reduce the number of unintended consequences if you keep all three of these dimensions in play. Article first published asThree Dimensions You Must Manage in Your Connected World on Technorati.