I’ve been on the road speaking on The Culture of Collaboration a lot recently. Meantime, material for this blog has been piling up, so I’ll share a few items:
There was a fascinating story in The Wall Street Journal on September 5 headlined “Scholars Link Success of Firms to Lives of CEOs” by Mark Maremont. You can read the story for free here. The story describes new research involving how the personal lives of CEOs may impact stock prices of their companies. The theory is that a family death or a recent large house purchase are distractions that negatively affect shareholder value.
Among the studies the story mentions is one by two Penn State professors called “It’s All About Me” which is to be published in Administrative Science Quarterly. The study concludes that narcissistic executives take greater risks, leading to bigger swings in profitability of their companies. You can read the paper by Arijit Chatterjee and Donald Hambrick here.
The Wall Street Journal story hints that a CEO-centric star culture drives many companies. This is shortsighted leadership. It’s no surprise that narcissistic executives expose their companies to uncalculated risks. Too often, star cultures breed shoot-from-the-hip leadership rather than consensus building through broad input. As companies adopt more collaborative cultures, swagger and narcissism become less appropriate and one leader’s distractions are less likely to jeopardize the company.
Google Docs let people collaborate on documents screen-to-screen. I’ve been checking out the tool recently. The drawback is that it’s not quite real time, but the potential is huge. Google hosts your documents for free, and you and your colleagues can log in and access them from anywhere.
Google has just enhanced the service with the ability to create and collaborate on presentations from anywhere. The capability stems in part from Google’s acquisition in April, 2007 of Tonic Systems. For more on this, check out Clint Boulton’s September 18 story in eWeek headlined “Google Offers ‘Collaboration in the Cloud.’”
I’ve been meaning to write more about Adobe and its tools. Core customers for such Adobe products as Illustrator, Photoshop, Flash and Dreamweaver are highly creative—and creative people are often collaborative. I’ve been checking out some of Adobe’s products recently. Acrobat Connect is the web conferencing tool that enables screen-to-screen sharing and annotating of Adobe’s other products and other applications. You can read my June 18 post about Acrobat Connect here.
I’ve also been checking out the new Adobe Creative Suite 3, which coupled with Acrobat Connect, lends itself to collaborative design. Using CS3, geographically-dispersed designers can create vector graphics, develop web sites, edit images and layout pages collaboratively. Marketing people can collaborate with designers in real time, annotating everything from brochures to web designs.