If the insights from the audit are good, an effective next step is to share them with managers in the company. Done right, this exchange of information does several things at once. First, it makes visible to the top of the organization what’s happening at the grassroots. Second, it educates managers on the range of immediate tools and ideas it has at its disposal (recall the little epiphany we had at the telecommunications company). Third, it helps stimulate conversation about how the company might support a promising trend.
Some time after staffers at Best Buy began demonstrating the power of employee-driven communications – best evidenced in the now famous Blue Shirt Nation – my former agency prepared a number of documents, videos and other artifacts that essentially held a mirror to the organization (see Charlene Li’s “Open Leadership” for more color and detail). This exercise helped pave the way for other projects at Best Buy that had the support of management. As many early thought leaders in the Enterprise 2.0 world have noted, the most successful projects start at the bottom but meet at the middle, with support from the top of the organization.