LinkedIn – A Change Management Review

linkedin-logoI’ve been watching with the interest a recent up tick in comments about LinkedIn losing its MOJO. It generally stems from a relaxation in their social protocols across profile, newsfeed and group management. It’s all gone very relaxed!

Now personally I’ve been an open networker, group contributor and watcher of the newsfeed since I started on LI many years ago. I have always enjoyed connecting with like minds and the conversations have been great, but I’m starting to lose the vibe too. I’m beginning to echo the views I read and nod in agreement as someone else comments about the irrelevant post or group rules being broken. Am I just turning into a grumpy old man or is there some substance to the way I feel about this?

So I took a step back and looked at what has happened and how was the change managed? Where was the change management? What was the stakeholder experience?

A little bit of digging gives me the driver for change: monetarization of the business model. Hmm, so change to make more money from the system. Ok I get it what else? Well nothing I could find. Some references around about simplification, listening to customer needs, greater access etc. But all without evidence. It appears that they are all the PR and marketing smooth overs to make the change seem more palatable. That’s not a good start. This core message was never openly communicated and as for stakeholder engagement…. well it wasn’t present in my corner.

So now to the changes. The good thing is that not everything was done at once. Incremental roll out was undertaken but it was not a smooth incremental. The bad is that there was no engaged education on the upcoming change. There was an email sent. It said this what’s happening, deal with it. So stakeholders didn’t have the opportunity to understand the change, and a cursory awareness was accepted.

After implementation how are people adopting the changes? Well there’s no management post implementation and from my observation and that of others I see, it’s all a bit wild west! Personally I’m getting at least 2 fake profile connects a week, copied into a group message that now reveals everyone else copied in and includes me in every response, and more valueless group messages than I can count. I guess it’s doing something for the people generating these activities, but not me! I’m also seeing my connections start to go all Facebook on me. I’ve always seen LI as a professional network and have no desire to read about the litter of kittens you have for sale, the contents of your freezer or how many discreet liaisons you’ve chalked off this week (ok the last is an exaggeration, but you get the message).

So what about sustaining this change? I guess it’s here to stay until the business development and marketing people at LI find a better model for their needs. We are looking at a massive group of people undergoing a huge culture shift. It’s success will no doubt be measured by the increased revenue for the company.

Personally I would like to see a stakeholder engagement assessment undertaken, just to cover all bases and provide some evidence of adoption and potential sustainment. For my take the jury is still out on this change but I will keep an open mind. What are your thoughts?

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