7 habits of highly overrated people: Managing self-promoters

Stopping smart self promoters from dominating collaborative processes is far more important than most realize; over-communicators can wreck workflows and digital commons, causing them to fail.
Written by Oliver Marks, Contributor on

The conundrum countless businesses face today is an intractable 'inbetweenie' time - there's a huge demand in our global always-on economy for the orchestration of Digital Enterprise solutions to company wide collaboration issues.

The challenge is that most firms are organized in a complicated array of competitive silos, and balances of power between line of business and IT can make it very hard to break down the largely meaningless vestigial barriers created by last century business processes.

The demand to streamline and simplify our ever more complex world is strong, but despite much hype and hoopla from software marketing and their analyst colleagues about 'the future of work' and other lofty visionary stuff, the old rigidity can make it very hard for folks to change.


Where does the change come from is the burning question. In our rapidly mutating, always on world, the center of gravity is increasingly mobile devices, with a bewildering array off connected objects and people feeding data and information streams into an often broken 'center', which often feels more like a vacuum.

Even as individuals roam the vast plains of their personal internet interests and relationships, most businesses struggle with rigid enterprise systems which have formed calcified people processes around them that persist long after their relevance has faded.

Within this vacuum the cream doesn't necessarily rise to the top: a blog post titled 'The 7 Habits of Highly Overrated People' rings true on many levels for me. Posted late last year by Erik Dietrich of a software engineering firm called DaedTech (No affiliation, I read this via Hacker News), Erik goes into some all too familiar ways corporate climbers game the system.

Overcommunicating, being bossy and critical, shameless self promotion, distracting with hair splitting arguments about minutae, timing to make themselves look good (and/or others bad), planned excuses and taking credit for others work are the seven old chestnuts expounded on in a twist on Coveys' book '7 habits of highly successful people' - the 76 and counting comments show Erick hit a nerve.

Erik stopped at seven 'habits', but we've all experienced other ways individuals and cliques work the system to their advantage. What's new in this area is the way these types manage their presence within digital platforms.

The era we are leaving of IT departments providing collaborative software within companies without any direct context to workflows or culture has resulted in plenty of brief adoption/tire kicking periods followed by abandonment. Those that have succeeded have often been adopted by people with agendas and a clear vision of how to make themselves more visible, regardless of their actual work rate or achievements.

Collaboration in companies is mostly people, personalities and cooperation - enabling technology is advancing in sophistication, but not planning for how it might be used (or assuming automatic 'adoption' etc) is usually the path to failure or worse.

We've all seen how personality types good at self promotion have spammed public social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to great effect with link bait and attention seeking activities.

Planning to limit this type of behavior (which often includes the critical task of who manages community managers and what their goals and objectives are) is critically important, even with the old generation of collaboration silo software.

As digital social interactions increasingly become the lubricant that allows information to flow between all areas of companies both inside and out planning use cases and intended outcomes has never been so important, and if the vision of the Digital Enterprise is to succeed as a streaming, simplifying and uniting performance fabric provided by companies for their employees, it is essential that it is seen as a well organized, logical and well managed 'level playing field' the doesn't favor the overrated...

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