To help social business emerge from hype to mainstream adoption, it is important to demystify how social business improves people’s jobs. One area that social business can benefit across a wide range of areas inside of companies is the Communications Plan. Today, communications plans have wide application across many areas of business:
Over the past 4 years, I’ve seen some incredible successes implementing social business solutions both personally and from my peers. As I look for my next opportunity to drive social business inside of organizations, I wanted to build and share a list of principles that I believe are critical for the success of any social business strategy.
Focus on other’s success, not your own - This isn’t about you. Your key objective should be to make the people who can benefit from social successful. You can do this by offering possible solutions to their business challenges without being preachy. Establish a good reputation inside the company as a person who will help you be successful. One way to facilitate this would be to share your goals & objectives publicly so that others can see what your motivations are. (see: http://greg2dot0.com/2012/06/21/transparent_goals/) Continue reading →
As we look at enterprise social networking and the benefits it enables, it’s clear that the companies perform better when people collaborate. Yet as individuals, collaboration is not necessarily how we’re judged and rewarded. This usually has to do with our objectives which tend to be very focused on being individual contributors. Even executives’ objectives tend to be focused toward organizational performance, and sometimes these objectives can only be achieved at the company’s or other executive’s expense.
When dealing with new people inside a large company, it is common to question why people are acting the way they are and be suspicious of motives. This is often because people don’t understand what your role is inside the company and as a result, that lack of understanding and trust can make getting things done challenging.
When we talk about innovation, we’re really talking about doing things differently to achieve better outcomes. Dictionary.com defines innovate as “to introduce something new; make changes in anything established.” This sounds great and it makes it clear why leadership wants their companies to innovate better, but it’s never as easy as it sounds. There are many challenges and personal behaviors that need to be addressed to be truly innovative and be successful at having your employees innovate better.
During my last post Improving collaboration, breaking down silos, and innovating better. What does that all mean?, I shared what “improving collaboration” probably means to most people in the context of making business better. Today, I’m going to delve into the world of silos. What are they, what does it mean when someone tells you they want to “Break down silos” and finally how to challenge the person to understand what they really mean when referencing this jargon.
What is a silo?
According to dictionary.com, a silo is “a structure, typically cylindrical, in which fodder or forage is kept”. In the business context, a silo generally represents a wall or boundary put up by an organization to keep them focused on accomplishing their goals and keeping outsiders from interfering with progress. Sometimes these are also called “stovepipes”. Some might even go on to add that it’s an organizational construct designed to protect and serve the hierarchy. The bottom line is that silos are a method for ensuring focus around specific business deliverables.
There are changes coming that you cannot avoid. For many, this will change the way we work and will force us to re-evaluate how we share information inside our organizations.
While social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter may or may not be in your future, you may not have a choice but to be “social” inside your organization. Companies are starting to see the advantages of opening up information and allowing it to flow freely. This isn’t appropriate for all information of course, but many topics such as operational excellence, product Q&A and employee communications all benefit from Enterprise Social Networks (ESN) and transparency. This allows people who have an interest in the information to find it easily and leads to things such as increased sales, reduced costs and improved satisfaction.
Having this type of accessible information is essential for competing in a global market where time zones and languages may make collaborating difficult. By having information available, it makes finding things faster and provides better agility allowing organizations to outmaneuver the competition.
Even if your organization does not have an ESN today, there is a high likelihood that you will soon. Many business applications you already use are adding social components to their applications, and platforms like Yammer are already accessible to your workers. By understanding how ESN’s drive change in your organization, you can be prepared for this shift before it happens and ready to leverage it when it does.
Even though there is a growing amount of information on the web on enterprise social computing a concise guide for executives is needed to outline the benefits and challenges of deploying it to your business.
What is Enterprise Social Networking?
Enterprise Social Networking (ESN) is a set of tools and behaviors that promote open conversations within an organization to achieve business objectives. This leads to more engaged employees, increased innovation and faster business outcomes. It is also commonly known as; Enterprise 2.0 & and Social Business.
ESNs can be externally facing for customers, partners, suppliers (or any group you communicate outside of your company) or internally facing for employees to work together.
Before embarking on Enterprise Social Networking, companies must provide the following table stakes for the organization in order to realize a sustainable success:
I’m sure you all know one. That person that’s always trying to poke holes in your work, the one that never seems to be satisfied, the one that you get frustrated with because it seems like things are never good enough to escape their critique. Well, believe it or not, this person is a very important role inside of your company and more importantly inside your social networks to avoid a phenomenon called “Groupthink”. Groupthink is a mode that a group of people gets into when they desire harmony in decision making without a realistic appraisal of alternatives and where there is a desire to minimize conflict.
Sure, we all want harmony in decision making, that makes our jobs easier, but does it give us the best decision? Most likely not. Let’s face it, how many times have we been in the situation where we know what we’re doing isn’t right, but the effort required is just too great considering your workload or the political cost? When you add a boss’s opinion to the mix, the chance that the group will align with his/her opinion is very high, despite the fact that it could possibly be the worst possible approach.
I’ve been around Enterprise 2.0 (or Social Business) for more than 3 yrs now. Since going to my first Enterprise 2.0 conference in 2008, I have been fortunate to be part of one of the most successful deployments of social technology in a large company (Computer World) to date. The approach was not filled with business cases and justification, but instead was largely fed by need and opportunity.
As I work with more organizations, I realize that a common trend is emerging. There is a group of people in the company that are generally not convinced that the social enterprise is the next best thing; Middle Management. While many other parts of the organization have been addressed by practitioners, this audience remains mostly ignored, with many feeling that they’ll just come along if everyone else does.