We Mean “Social Business”
Let’s look at Social as simply a form of communication for a minute. 10,000 years ago we might have had a “runner” to send messages between villages. The “Need” was to communicate over distance. What we did was send messages via runner. The “How” began to develop their own techniques leading to the story of the Greek soldier Pheidippides who brought a message to Athens of the Battle of Marathon. We’ve developed many Whats and Hows since then from smoke signals, flags, the Pony Express, Morse Code, Wireless Radio, e-mail, and social media. The intrinsic Need remains the same, more effective communication over distance, time, and even culture. Today Social Technologies are one part of a disproportionate change brought in part through the Web of internet, cell phones, and high-speed broadband and wireless communications.
I have been pioneering or early adopting technologies for over 30 years to improve organizational effectiveness. You might laugh at some of those innovations. For example, I installed cc:Mail back in 1995 so that we could share files with each other and across the fledgling internet. Until cc:Mail we had text only messages without the ability to send files directly or graphics. (I can feel you shuddering from here). Anything that might help with organization effectiveness I was all over: Macintosh File Servers; AppleTalk, which I also tunneled through DecNet to build one of the first international networks; Interaction Associates team building and process mapping; Lotus Domino; and the list goes on endlessly.
To me social media technologies are another tool to be used by organizations on increase their effectiveness. Like all tools made by people, they can be used for good and evil, they can be used expertly and poorly, and they work best if you have an idea of what you are trying to do with them and someone to help mentor you on their use. You need the proper tool for the job, not one, a variety of tools. Does your auto mechanic use one tool? Does your Doctor? The homebuilder? There is no one tool either for a corporate Social Business Enterprise either! Back to mentoring. Yes, the first person to develop a router had to pioneer how to use a router. You can do this as well. Buy tons of tools. Play with them. Try not to get hurt. Try not to waste money, time, and organizational focus. Or you can hire a 26-year-old because they know how to use Twitter and Pinterest. But a tactic is not a strategy.
I give that what you really want to do is find someone who understands change management. Someone who know about business process reengineering. And someone who is also an expert in social technologies. McKinsey asserts that businesses which successfully implement social technologies see a 20 to 23% increase in value from social technologies! Can you wait and let your competition continue to improve while you ponder “Social Business”?