Social apps are still seducing leaders of social initiatives. The seduction of social is simple (and alliterative): because Facebook can grow its adoption to over a billion people without seemingly doing anything, if we just pick the right social app all our employees will start using it.
Employees’ need compelling reasons for using the social apps their organizations provide for them. But that’s only part of the adoption dynamic. And here’s a shocker: well-designed implementations do not have collaboration as the end goal. Nope, that’s correct. Collaboration per se is not the end goal. Well-designed implementations of social apps aim to make it easier for people to get their work done. They are focused and specific to each worker’s needs.
But even some thoughtfully planned efforts lose steam. When this happens, it’s useful to examine whether senior managers have a “do what I say, not what I do” attitude about the enterprise social apps. Because this is the stinging truth: if managers proclaim the need for collaboration, knowledge sharing and the like but are not actively demonstrating their belief in these principles by their activities in social apps, their words belie their truth attitudes. And employees, like petulant children, will pick up on this disconnect and emulate what their leaders do, not what they say.
It’s essential to help senior managers, as well as the sponsors of social initiatives, recognize what “support” means. With previous technology roll-outs it might have been enough to say nice words about how much better one’s work life will be when the new functionality is available. But social initiatives are different. Senior leaders must make sure their words and their actions are consistent.
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