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Disclaimer: The views expressed on stopthinksocial are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle.
Wednesday
Jun302010

« 7 Top Tips for creating The Social Workplace »

There are many top tips out there when it comes to social media strategies, but many of these are based on theory. The top tips below are based on experience (and mistakes) on how to create The Social Workplace:

1. Social technologies enable the strategy, they don't define it
If I had a penny for every time I heard "I want to start doing social media, which Blog do you recommend?" I could afford to buy, and coach, my own England football team ...

The technology is important yes, but it's the last thing to focus on. Firstly, understand the social capabilities of your target audience; identify what you are trying to achieve; plan how you want to achieve it; and finally determine the right social technologies that will lead to success.

2. Do not under-estimate the cultural change
As mentioned in a previous post, I compare the change in culture in using social technologies to that of the early 70's, when people first began walking around with a large telephones strapped to their heads.

People will pick up the concept and benefits of being social in the workplace at a variation of speeds. Some will just "get it", some will need a bit of coaching, whilst others will need a lot of hand-holding.

I've had a lot of success with introducing a remote social media change workshop and is something I would recommend, along with identifying use cases.

3. Find the hook!
Approaching senior management with "I would love to talk to you about social technologies...." is not the way to start your opening pitch (or even for them to allow you to finish your sentence).

Be more bold, and find what is important to them. I often use "Would you like me to reduce your email by 50%?" as an opening gambit and that gets me a coffee and a seat.

4. Start small - Quick win - BIG impact
Trying to do too much too quick is going to have a negative impact and hamper any future opportunities to creating a social workplace.

So identify a solution that has a big business benefit with the minimum of effort. Once you have a successful solution under your belt you can crank it up a notch to the next level.

5. Be creative!
Utilise the right-side of your brain and use social media to explain social media, not large PowerPoint presentations with lots of tiny writing that forces people to squint. If they are reading your slides they are not listening to you.

By creating something that people talk about and share, will enable your message to reach a mass market in a socially connected enterprise much faster than the traditional communication channels.

This is an animated video I created with the help of my good friends at www.moviestorm.co.uk, to communicate the importance to Oracle's sales organisation of being more socially connected (with a little humour mixed in).

6. Be Passionate...
Creating a social workplace is a fairly new concept, and if done correctly can create much more effective and much more efficient business teams.

However it is a big change in culture as I mentioned earlier, and therefore you need to be passionate and resilient in your message before others are willing to believe and follow.

7. Stop, Think, be Social
And finally, before you next send that large presentation to 20+ people asking for their feedback causing huge irritations in doing so, take a step back and think "is there a better way of achieving my goal, a more social way?"

It is far too easy to slip back into the bad habits of traditional communication styles and methods so you need to regularly Stop, Think, and remember to be Social.

Reader Comments (1)

Your seven points are spot on, especially about strategy versus technology adoption and culture change. Finding the right hooks is probably one of the most difficult ones to execute as this will vary across enterprises. However, one thought, which is more generic to all enterprises and could perhaps aid a broader approach framework, is to emphasise the continuity rather than the change social media represents inside the enterprise.

As a start, I would de-emphasise 'social media' and stress collaborative software. The term social media carries baggage (often misunderstood). Whether it is justified or not, the fear the term provokes is the notion of disruptive change. Of course this is the result of the way many social media gurus exaggerate how this represents such a radical break with the past. (I have written a more substantial piece on this on my blog www.futures-diagnosis.com titled 'Millennials and Enterprise2.0'). Instead I would emphasise the continuities with present-day practice making the point that this would make communication and knowledge management more efficient thus helping to increase productivity. One of the best use cases I use is showing how in some enterprises, this has reduced meeting times by close to 90% will improving on the quality of the outputs. (I have statistics to prove this!) Your point about email efficiency is another powerful argument.

The final point I would stress, perhaps a point 8, is that what is important is allowing the informal networks underpinning the formal structure to blossom. In short, increased collaboration and ensuring the right information gets to the right people at the point of need, is about facilitating communities of practice to flourish as a by-product of everyday work. Community building remains the key to creating a social business. Which is why you are so correct to emphasise the need to start small, make some gains, discover the passionate adopters and use them to drive broader adoption. Our experience shows that without this base, no amount of clever arguments, statistics etc will convince senior managers of the need for adoption. Showing results which capture and embrace the passion of employees makes a real impact.

July 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNorman Lewis

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