The illusion of Brand Control is the title Andrew McAfee gave his article in Harvard Business Review online. A strong title that covers a lot. Just recently I heard of an organization taking measures to cut down time employees would be able to spend on the Internet and even controlling what sites they are allowed to visit. Yesterday evening I attended a presentation by a fraud expert. One of the elements he mentioned is also the stealing of time by employees amongst others by spending too much time on non work related sites. All in all elements that very much feel like old fashioned control, very much 1.0 behavior.
In my view it basically drills down to trust, respect and responsibility; respect your employees and create an organizational environment where they carry their own responsibility. Trust them, have faith they know their responsibilities and act accordingly. But realize that creating such an environment also requires a feedback loop, a form of continues positive control, emphasizing on the right behavior. As Andrew mentioned in his article, open up and let them write openly about your organization:
A few large, brand-sensitive organizations have taken another approach; they’ve accepted their lack of brand control and have actively encouraged insiders to join the online conversation without making any attempt to censor or even guide them. They’ve said, essentially, “You know us really well. Talk about us on the Web. We want the world to hear what you have to say.”