6 FAQs About Developing a Responsive Organization

Responsive-Org-CoverLast week on YammerTV hundreds of professionals from various industries learned how to turn their companies into Response Organizations from Adam Pisoni, co-founder and CTO of Yammer, and Mike Grafham, worldwide customer success lead. First and foremost, attendees learned that a Responsive Organization learns and responds rapidly through open communication, experimentation, and working as a network. In addition to hearing from experts Pisoni and Grafham, YammerTV participants posed questions to the main presenters about how best to become a more Responsive Organization.

The following are the top six questions asked by the audience:

How to get buy-in from management and employees

How do I get buy-in from management to start a Responsive Organization? Answered by Adam.
Don’t give a giant explanation of the Responsive Organization. Pick a project and start working differently to prove it. Call it an “experiment” if you need approval. Present it as easy and safe for the business. Understand your executives are extremely busy and need reasons to do things, especially when change is involved.

How do you encourage employees to use Yammer? Answered by Mike. Don’t encourage them to use Yammer; encourage them to think about connecting with their colleagues differently in order to get their work done better. Invite your co-workers to an experiment, and get them to experience the benefit of working differently with social. Yammer’s just a vehicle for that experience. Alternatively, show them success stories that people in similar roles to theirs have had and encourage them to try their own experiments.

Answers to concerns over open information

Does the Responsive Organization philosophy consider all information useful? Answered by Adam.
Not all information is useful, but the mistake we make is assuming we know what information is useful for everyone else. What we find is that some information we have, which we didn’t think was that useful, turns out to be extremely useful to others. Transparency uncovers these surprises.

How do you protect proprietary information in an open communication tool like Yammer? Answered by Mike.
Our customers tend to protect this by giving guidance to users in usage policies and training, as well as through the use of private groups when the nature of the information being discussed necessitates it. It is important to note, though, that you should apply a principle of  “dare to share” rather than “need to know” when it comes to deciding whether to share information or not, because transparency is a key driver of responsiveness.

How to structure your organization for success

How do you balance the Network organizational structure within a Responsive Organization and the human nature of hierarchy? Answered by Adam.
I think we’re only beginning to explore the balance between hierarchies and networks. In truth we’ll probably need both: networks of hierarchies and hierarchies of networks. To understand where the hierarchy is failing, look for places where change is particularly difficult, or where people seem unhappy doing what they’re supposed to do. Or, look to where people are having lots of meetings. Meetings are usually a reflection of a broken hierarchy as they are usually held to give a status update, inform other groups, or ask other groups to do things for you. These are areas where working as a network negates the need for as many meetings.

What is the ideal company size for using Yammer? Answered by Mike.
There isn’t really an ideal company size for Yammer. We work with organizations that have less than 10 people to some of the largest companies in the world. The challenges all of these companies face is actually pretty similar: keeping people on the same page, understanding what the organization knows about a particular topic, and responding quickly to a much faster, changing world.

If you’re interested in becoming a more Responsive Organization or have questions, please leave comments or questions below. You can also watch the on-demand YammerTV event and get the answers straight from Pisoni. Enjoy the webinar, and best of luck in your social journey.