Personally we have never been more social. Online we use social media to connect with friends, share ideas, mobilize support and express our selves.
Professionally we remain socially isolated behind firewalls and management’s concerns about relinquishing control while retaining responsibility.
The irony is that while organizations are working feverishly to participate in social media marketing, they see it as something that is more relevant outside of their company than inside. I spoke with a CEO of social media software company who could talk for hours about the power of customer collaboration, yet when asked if he applied his tools in house said, ‘this is not for us, we do not work that way.’ It seems like the last frontier of social collaboration just might be inside your company.
Creating a social capability and a capacity for collaboration inside your company presents challenges at all levels of the organization.
- Leaders, executives and managers who do not want to let go of their authority, resources, responsibility or control,
- Corporate functions, like HR, Finance, IT, etc., who see social media based collaboration as competition for their role, creating IP risk, or wasting employees time,
- IT professionals who concentrate on providing tools leading to a strategy of ‘provide and pray’,
- Individuals who are reluctant to stick their necks out and share, or to get involved as they have been burned by similar initiatives in the past.
It seems that while everyone wants to be social on the outside, inside they continue to operate as always on the inside. While there are some good books on social marketing, Adam Metz’s The Social Customer is one, there is little in the way of advice, process, tools for bringing social media inside an organization.
That is the focus of a new book by Anthony Bradley and myself called “The Social Organization: how to tap the collective genius of your customers and employees.” The book is now shipping both electronically on Amazon and out to bookstores. The book will be featured at Gartner’s Symposia this fall in Orlando, Barcelona, Australia’s Gold Coast and Mumbai. Executive Programs members will receive a complimentary copy.
The book is based on looking at companies that have done more than deployed social media tools, but incorporated those tools into the core of their operations. In the process they have become social organizations, which is something different than having social media deployed on your intranet.
If your organization is trying to be socially outgoing with customers but socially shy internally or even anti-social when it comes to how you work inside the firewall, then this book offers an approach to building collaborative communities that achieve results not possible via traditional top-down task forces or end-to-end process teams.
Future blog posts will present ideas about what it means to be a social organization and asks you to share your comments. To get things started, I thought I would describe the issue we have focused on, talk a little about the book itself, and invite you to read the first chapter by following this link to The Social Organization Website. The site is publically available, after a brief registration.
Other links concerning the book include:
Harvard Business Review Blog Post : All organizations are social but few are social organizations
Financial Times Interview about the book.
The Social Organization Facebook Page
A blog post from my co-author Anthony Bradley
More to come, not as marketing, but more of a discussion and collaboration on the challenges, concepts, tools and experiences of making where you work as socially dynamic, inviting and engaging as how you are trying to sell what you do to customers.
After all, why do you have to lead a double life, social at home and cloistered at work!
More to come and please let us know what you think. Is it time for work and your organization to become social? What is holding it back?
Anthony Bradley and Mark McDonald are the co-authors of Fall 2011 book, The Social Organization: How to Use Social Media to Tap the Collective Genius of Your Customers and Employees
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