Mads Nipper has the courage to question the ordinary – part 1

It has been almost 6 months since we did our last post, and a vast number of exciting dishes have been cooking in Grundfos since then.

One of the best known inside Grundfos is our CEO blog which Mads Nipper writes directly in our enterprise social network! All by himself, and using all his devices (computer, tablet, and phone) – yes, Mads Nipper actually often posts directly from his phone!

Teaser from Mads blog

I have met a lot of people – including VP’s and directors – who say that Mads is about to change the communication culture in Grundfos. And to be honest, it is a pleasure to see how communication flows because the style is simply inviting.

Think about that for a second. And then also think about all the people who would have advised him to do it differently! Really, there are a lot of risks from the viewpoint of all kinds of important people (from legal, HR, Corporate Communication, etc) which could make any CEO chose a more ordinary way to communicate;

  • It’s an open channel – meaning anyone can post in ‘Mads’s Blog’ if they want – so it is possible to ‘hijack’ the conversation.
  • It will take too much of Mads’ valuable time to answer questions or comments
  • What if Mads accidentally writes something which can be used against him or the management team.
  • What if someone posts a very critical question or insists on a conflict in this open space?

You can continue the list yourself.

Here are some of the ‘behind the scene’ reasons why it actually works and why most traditional risks are easily mitigated, should they occur in real life. Here we go:

‘It will take up too much of your time’ issue.
Mads himself chooses what he wants to reply to. His actual responses (frequency, length, theme, tone) will calibrate expectations and create practices and a culture most people can easily interpret and learn!

What if he writes something ‘wrong’?
He doesn’t. And if he did – he would just fix it himself. Quickly

What if he makes spelling mistakes?
Great – it shows that the purpose of communicating is more about the subject than the format.

It’s a public channel – anyone can post in Mads’ Blog’.
I think everyone intuitively knows that you are not supposed to hijack the agenda or the conversation space for that matter. It’s just like in real life;-) If you act bad at a party, people will first observe and hope that you solve the issue yourself. And the signal from Mads will be that he just stays out of the conversation.

Next phase will be what I call community self-moderation. Other people will start to act on Mads’ behalf and help the poor fool to understand that the behavior is not appreciated or even unacceptable. We have seen this many times before. In general, people only mess up once!

We have thought about appointing a small corps of ‘CEO Blog’ community managers which can facilitate and support any issues which might occur. We have not had to do this. And btw. – if you ever do this – we recommend that it be people from the field and non-managers. They are much more credible. In any case, honestly, we would not probably chose to not openly communicate who they were. It would be the best for everyone this way.

As a final comment: We have not yet had to take really serious measures in any of the community dialogues in our entire ESN yet!

And by now you are probably thinking: OK – but what does he actually talk about. How does he write – what is his tone of voice, etc. SHOW ME you are thinking.

OK – We will post a couple of sharable cases in the near future.

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Adoption, Business value, Culture, Leadership
2 comments on “Mads Nipper has the courage to question the ordinary – part 1
  1. I have been really happy to see thie development of Mads’ blog. To me, it plays out the Grundfos Value “Open and Trustworthy” in a really authentic way. Where I worked before, I often heard managers and leaders say “my door is always open” but it was rarely the case in practice. Here I think the blog has the potential of addressing the issues because the Yammer door really is open (well, at least to those of us with an account). And Mads has already shown that he takes people seriously.

    I have often been disappointed by the quality of discussions in public forums, on Facebook or in the newspapers’ comments stream. On Yammer, I love how Grundfos colleagues are taking the opportunity to engage in conversations about the company in a constructive way. Also, since we are in a work context I think very few people will want to make unnecessary remarks or start irrelevant conversations.

  2. Nice work Thomas and thanks for sharing – look forward to seeing the impact this has down the line in an update post 🙂

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