Social Business is Business as UNusual

Some of the weakest value propositions still offered by enterprise social tech vendors today are 1. having less email and 2. fewer meetings. Seriously? Is this the best we can do? So what? And sorry, please don’t assume that less of one thing means more of something else (collaboration).

The promise of social technology is (or was) about doing the work of working differently maybe even changing business structure altogether. We know that when diverse people connect and can talk openly, interesting things can happen –  new ideas are fostered, innovations take place, and problems get solved. But it still takes the right people, in the right systems, in the right culture and the right kind of talk; real, honest talk. Technology alone is not going to magically make this happen. Getting it “right” is hard work and takes time.

I remember encouraging a VP to ask the organization in our social platform for help with a sticky company-wide problem. As simple as it was, it wasn’t easy for him to do (the top of the food chain admitting he didn’t have the answers and humbly asking people for help). Yet the result was undeniable; People opened up, shared, presented new ideas, asked secondary questions, and even unearthed the root cause. It was a small but fantastic example of what can be; humanity over rigid hierarchy and the power of inclusiveness only found in social organizations. It was also the opposite of the typical meeting of only “key” people and similarly it was the anti-email as it was open for all to contribute, continuously, with no pressure, no strings attached.

That’s powerfully different from the default, that’s business as unusual… and that’s the promise of social.

2 thoughts on “Social Business is Business as UNusual

  1. A major problem is that the word “social” seems to mean online to most people, when really social means engaging with others, no matter where it is. It also sounds like there was a potential leadership issue because pride should never keep anyone from asking for help from the larger group, especially when you know they have the intellect to be helpful. I’m glad it all worked out for you, and your message here is spot on!

    1. Absolutely correct Mitch! Social is what we do/who we are regardless of how it is supported or amplified. Being “social”, at its very heart, is in making a connection. The VP connected, his humility had risk but also showed his humanity – something we can all relate to.

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