What do Obama and EMC have in common?

I know what you’re thinking.  I’ve created a provocative headline to lure you in, and the actual post that follows is going to be nowhere near as interesting as the title.  Maybe you’re right, in which case I apologize.  But this post came about as an extension to some conversation I’ve had recently with people at EMC, on the subject of change, turmoil, and heightened expectations.  And when I put it like that, maybe there are some comparisons I can draw between Barack Obama and my work environment.

Barack Obama was elected into the White House on the promise of change for the better.  Lots of Presidents have gotten into office with the promise of change, but in this case capital-C Change was clearly the most important keyword in Obama’s message.  If you had to reduce his message to a one-word brand name, it would be Change.  So the people of America (and the world) will be watching and waiting to see these capital-C Changes.  If the next four years are more of the same with a different face delivering the same message, I think we’ll see a much more apathetic voting public in 2012.  Not only that, but the Democratic party will have squandered the trust and opportunity given them by the voters.  They would have been better off not promising such radical change if they aren’t able to provide it.

How does this relate to EMC?  Well, we have developed an incredible internal community site for collaboration and conversation.  The early adopters (it’s been a year, are we still considered early?) have come to enjoy new ways of doing business, new ways of communicating. But not everyone is there, not everyone is on board (yet).

It’s no secret to my readers that sometimes life in a big corporation can be frustrating.  The interesting side effect with EMC|ONE is that we have begun to assume the entire company works the same way the early adopters do.  When this doesn’t hold true, some people get confused, even angry.  It’s healthy, but it can be difficult to see up close.  The general attitude seems to be, “You gave us an inch, now we want a mile.”  But this isn’t about selfishness, it’s about ideals.  We’ve proven to our employees that the company can be run this way.  So now, they hold us accountable to that.

I think it’s great.  It shows that the platform is working, that people are beginning to take this type of change for granted, to demand changes to match their expectations.  I’m proud to work at a company that embraces that challenge.

It’s going to be an interesting ride.  I look forward to checking back on this post in a year to see how those heightened expectations have panned out … on both fronts!