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Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant, Humanize: How People-Centric Organizations Succeed in a Social World

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Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant, Humanize: How People-Centric Organizations Succeed in a Social World (Indianapolis, Indiana: Que Publishing, 2012).

After reading Humanize: How People-Centric Organizations Succeed in a Social World, it became clear that the structures of the majority of businesses are very similar. They seem to share a similar corporate ladder approach, and are slowly taking the human aspect out of their business. I am not saying machines are taking over our businesses, but they are becoming very robotic in nature. Authors, Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant, argue that there are four human elements that all businesses need to incorporate or further incorporate into their organizational structure. These elements include, being more open, being trustworthy, generative, and finally being courageous. They describe how the four elements can affect the culture of a business, the process of a business, and the behavior amongst the employees. Notter and Grant also show how these four elements can help businesses succeed and/or be more successful in the new fast paced social media infused workplace today. They also describe why companies have such an issue with social media in the workplace. As I read this book, I found myself relating a lot of these ideas and principles to my own workplace, and how I can incorporate them, if they already exist, and if they have no chance of succeeding.

Let us first look at the problems with social media in the work place and how it applies to the culture, process, and behavior of the organization. An older organization is going to have a hard time changing their ways to incorporate social media because let's be honest the older generation does not always stay up to date with current technology. Other issues include negative feedback from things like social blogs because they are so current it makes damage control difficult, also trusting the younger and often more inexperienced employees with more responsibility. I understand why this is, everyone has a parent or grandparent who refuses to adapt to the vast technological world we live in today and for a company that has been around for so long and is so successful why change? Another issue is the way the internal processes were designed before social media existed again makes it difficult for a business to adapt. Essentially, departments would have to become more knowing of everything that goes on not just marketing knows marketing and sales knows sales, there needs to be a high level of collaboration. Last but not least, the boundaries separating work life and personal life need to come down because with social media booming all of your information is out there anyhow. How about when you are engaged in a heated chat with someone bad-mouthing your company, how far can you defend them, can you defend them at all? These are just a few of the problems that social media is causing inside an organization.

Now, we will further explore the four basic human elements that Notter and Grant have argued can make a company more human. First we will take a look at what a company can do to be more open. The main idea the authors discussed was the idea of decentralization. Essentially divide up the power and their structure should be lattice or lateral as opposed to a ladder. This will help employees' voices be heard and give a different outlook of solutions and also help define who the leaders of the company really are, thus changing the culture. As far as having an open process, share information with the public and with employees. Basically, keep everyone informed; short-notice meetings are very helpful. I work for Jewel and we used to have little five minute huddles with one employee from each department being present where we could go over sales numbers and expectations for the day and it was a good way of keeping the lower level employees informed. For the behavior aspect, employees need to take ownership of their job not the company.

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