Lehman Bros: The case against collaboration

thumb_white.gifTo describe recent events as a disaster would be an understatement, whether for investors, employees or the general public the collateral damage from the past week-ends events will be the subject of many books and dissertations in the future. 

From the perspective of collaborative technology in all its forms we have to consider the communications environment that many have exacerbated the situation. 
I am passionate about the benefits of collaboration and frankly I do not care too much which platform it is delivered upon however its upside can be its achilles heel in some situations.
Banks rely upon a fiction that if you ask for your money right now you would get it. Well it may be true in the normal course of events but if many individuals or organisations ask for thier money at the same time any individual Bank is simply unable to comply. Then the Bank would have to borrow from their peers and if they can’t get the money from them for whatever reason they fail – period.
But why do people suddenly want their cash and why can’t the banks just borrow from other banks: trust, or rather lack of trust, the moment that goes the fiction evaporates and the slippery slope to failure commences. Sometimes governments intercede but usually the end result remains the same. 
Many of the triggers for the crash in 1929 was panic due to rumour, rumour spread by the technologies of the 20s, telephone, telegraph and teleprinter. I suspect that in 2008 the post-mortem of Lehman’s demise will show that the speed of both accurate and inaccurate information via email, on-line forums and other collaborative spaces was a major factor in the destruction of its trust. Rumours start, spread, become ‘fact’ and then turn into the most effective business poison in the world. There is no remedy and I don’t think in the future one can be found.
We cannot un-invent modern collaborative technology  however we have to be charged with its careful use. I have been thinking about training recently and what sort / level we should give. This weekends events make be feel that the training we should give is not on how to use collaborative technology but on the when and what collaborative technology should be used for.
addendum:
I will try to put together a post Lehman Bros: the case for collaboration in the near future.

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