Mack Collier’s recent Blog Post: We Need to Stop Marketing ‘Social Business’ If We Want to Start Selling It brought up an interesting challenge:
A far more interesting discussion in my mind is to talk about exactly how a business would transition to becoming a ‘social business’.
Dachis Group has a practice area surrounding precisely this. We call the state of Social Business being a Connected Company, and for background I would refer you to the excellent writings of Dave Gray and others, especially Dave’s discussion of Pods and Platforms.
To discuss the HOW, let’s talk about the nature of the transition itself. No matter what the ultimate definition of Social Business becomes, it is a major shift from the current way many organizations work to one that can make full use of what’s coming. Much of Social Business success comes from achieving major change with many of the existing assets in place. One can’t simply dismiss everyone and start over. Systems and technologies might appear, but it’s as much about a change in behaviors, skills and activities. The burden for this change will land on a number of individuals, who need to be led competently.
There are three major themes we’re pursuing to help our enterprise clients: strategy, design and leadership.
Its vital to build the burning platform, as well as the WHY argument, clearly built on a transparent view of major strategy initiatives, and sound business goals.
We need to answer for what is happening to the organization, and how management at the top has formed a response. Is this a market-driven change? OR are we doing this based on other reasons? We must provide a clear line of sight to the top, that outlines the drivers for change, and what is at risk if we don’t go there.
We take time to design the new work environment. What are the knowledge, skills and behaviors that will create a successful person in this new space? What measures are presently in place? What new or different interactions need to take place? What activity do online and offline environments need to support?
As this may present a number of new challenges to employees, we must focus on building an environment of trust, where collaboration and play–to-failure are all part of the social fabric of the working environment. Management also needs to build a new understanding of evaluation and rewards… one that fosters this set of employee behaviors in the design.
All of this needs to be backed up with a sound “Change Communications” strategy, that rolls out new tools and ideas in a logical pattern. This will be outlined in a future post.
So its true that while the world is making a lot of noise regarding Social Business, for a few select enterprise clients, we’re working toward a methodology for achieving Social Business.