Managing Change and Embracing Social Media

originally posted on Concept Hub

Thanks to Paul Terlemezian at iFive Alliances, Concept Hub, Inc was brought together with i3 Logic to present a workshop this past week on how Social Media is causing organizations to;

  • change how they manage their team
  • how they develop their products and services
  • and how they take those products to the market.

The full day workshop was very interactive, bringing together ideas and experiences from CIOs, CLOs, and Consultants.

From the start we identified the benefits and the challenges that social media has brought to our organizations. One benefit is that social media humanizes organizations which increases the level of trust from society. Over the past decades organizations and institutions have been losing trust rapidly, but when the doors to such institutions are opened and we get to know the people and personalities inside of them, that trust can be re-built.

At least that is the idea that has been spread through stories in books such as Naked Conversations and Tactical Transparency.

But there are many challenges that organizations and institutions face as the world of social media clashes with the world of controlled messaging as well as increases the speed of information.

Words such as transparency and authenticity are often used in the same sentences as social media, but how realistic is it for organizations to meet the various standards and ideas of transparency and authenticity? Do we need to be transparent in our revenue models, our net profits, our talent, our intellectual property, our ideas, our political standing or religious beliefs. Some people will argue that yes – we want to know the motives that drives a person or an organization. But would that make business better? Or would it cause more misunderstandings and continue to cause a divide, not to mention give a little too much information to our competitors?

Authenticity is another idea I see fading as more and more technology is being developed to automate our “conversations.”

Our team met at Maggiano’s for dinner the night before the workshop. Rom from i3logic made the reservations and sent us the information via twitter. Within moments Maggiano sent him a tweet saying thank you. Obviously that is an automated response – they are monitoring their brand and sending tweets to those who mention them. At least that is what I suspected, so I sent a tweet back to Rom telling him I looked forward to dinner at Maggiano’s and well….

Although I see the value of having an automated response to create and increase brand loyalty…is this “authentic?”

I do not know the answer just yet – in fact I only recently came up with the question.

At the workshop Judy Mod from Neighborhood America asked the question “is the culture being created by the technology or is the technology creating the culture?”

What a great chicken or the egg question. I feel that the culture created the technology and the technology is now spreading and infecting other cultures. So I guess the answer depends on what side of the change you are standing on.

Two points that were made which I felt were incredibly noteworthy were;

“Social Media is not a project it is a process”
– Judy Mod”Groundswell is the opposite of strategy”
-Curtis

Many people who are tipping their toes in the world of social media will start off with a small social media project. The challenge with that is Social Media affects every aspect of your business, and by looking at your strategy as a project vs a process will cause a number of “system failures” to occur due to other connecting departments and stakeholders not being involved in adapting to the overall change.

Also, many people feel that since social media was a “groundswell,” and grew from many various grassroots movements, that all they need to do is get involved or create a presence and “magic” will happen. But social media has not changed the rule that you need to know where you want to go in order to get there.

You can floot around social media if you are just exploring and have some time to kill, or you can create a roadmap and establish key milestones to reach your goals.

I learned so much from i3Logic through this project. Three key things that I noted from the workshop are;

1. Any change must be aligned with where the organization wants to go. It cannot simply be one person’s pet project, no matter what that person’s title or influence may be.

2. There must be a bridge that is built to get an organization from their present state to their envisioned future state.

3. You must get commitment from the key players. This can be achieved by getting their input upfront, having them involved in integrating the change and constantly getting feedback from the team.

Chris Rogers, a previous client of mine, was in the group and he provided what was for me one of the most enlighting statements of the day;

“to successfully implement a change in the way someone does something, you have to get them to acknowledge that they are truly dissastisfied with the current state.”

That, I believe, is the challenge that will continue to increase the “digital divide” in our businesses, and that is the true challenge that we need to overcome.

I am very much looking forward to continuing our work with iFive Alliances and i3Logic to help our clients embrace the change that is being thrust upon them in a way that will empower them to reach their goals.