I Want to be Borg / Yearnings for a Collectively Intelligent Enterprise 

Borg Costume

Borg Costume

How great would it be to be part of a collectively intelligent enterprise like The Borg from Star Trek?  My skills would be valued.  I would be engaged in solving problems presented by leadership and management.  I could contribute ideas and help others with theirs.  My unique set of skills would be of benefit and the diversity of the skills of all would bring us to levels of creativity and ability we could not achieve alone.  Leadership would say things to me like “We value you for your distinctiveness and we will add it to our own”.  How would I respond to such a compliment; to such an opportunity?

I think I would say, “Thank you Borg Queen/CEO.  Thank you for recognizing that I am a distinct individual with a unique set of skills, knowledge, experience, passions and capabilities. Thank you for valuing that distinctiveness and thank you for making good use of it.  I was beginning to think I would never get a chance to use my skills and truly contribute to the hive/company.  In fact, I was thinking of leaving this cube farm but now, I think I shall stay. (See Gallup Study reference below regarding retention1)

While I am at it, thank you for making available to me all the other distinct individuals with their skills, knowledge and experience.  I have some really big ideas and they aren’t going anywhere without the aid of the right people.  I am sure they feel the same. In fact, I think you will see dramatically improved quality and financial performance by engaging us in this way.  (See Gallup Study reference below regarding financial results 2)

However, since you value my opinion, I do have some suggestions.  For example, please don’t call me a “drone”. A drone is forced to do the same job day after day without the opportunity for change or recognition.  In retrospect, I’ve spent most of my career as a drone.  Now that you are engaging me for my distinctiveness, I don’t feel like a drone at all.  Please call me an intrapreneur or perhaps, an innovator.

Next, let us not call my group a “Unimatrix”.  Instead let us call it a Community of Practice or Community of Interest.  Allow these communities to form within traditional silos but also in ways that cut across silos in our organization. That will help us better leverage best practices and develop new ones.  We don’t need to meet in person.  On-line via an Innovation Portal would be more efficient.

Seven of Nine/Jeri Ryan

Seven of Nine/Jeri Ryan

Please do allow me to find and “follow”, via the Innovation Portal, individuals I consider to be thought leaders.  I have lacked a professional development plan that would enable me to be considered in areas of interest to me.  There are some people working in those areas that I would love to support, if only on an unofficial basis at first.   For example, Seven of Nine / Jeri Ryan is awesome even if she has no official rank.  I would love to collaborate with her.  (Note to self. Check with HR whether the alcove next to Jeri is available.)

Of course, most importantly, challenge me.  Present problems and opportunities to me and my fellow innovators. Present the company goals and strategies and allow we innovators to suggest tactics.   Allow us to collaborate and propose solutions.  Don’t worry about the deluge of feedback.  A good Innovation Portal is designed to organize such feedback.  You, my Borg Queen/CEO, will only hear the best ideas and therefore not be overwhelmed.

I know what you are concerned about.  With all of this collaboration, I will not have time for my regular duties and you will need to hire additional staff.  Not to worry.  Sadly, 20% of your staff is actively disengaged from their job anyhow. (See reference 3 below.)  So actually, by engaging us, you will finally be getting what you already paid for.

Finally my Borg Queen/CEO, I am impressed that you are among the many forward thinking leaders that are seeking to create the Collectively Intelligent Enterprise.  However, for those who are not familiar with the concept.  I will invite them to read my next contribution, ‘How to Develop a Collectively Intelligent Enterprise.’ “

References:

1  2012 Gallup Meta-Analysis shows that companies with high employee engagement experience 25% – 65% lower turnover.

2 2012 Gallup Meta-Analysis shows that companies with high employee engagement experience

  • 21% higher productivity
  • 22% higher profitability
  • Average margins of 27.4% versus 9.9%
  • 41% fewer defects

3 2012 Gallup Meta-Analysis and the Towers Watson 2012 Global Workforce Study shows low employee engagement levels.  20% are actively disengaged.  Only 28% are engaged with 54% reporting themselves as only somewhat engaged.