So you want to make your business a Social Business – Part 2

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Having made a conscious decision to at least explore the potential benefits of Social Business as a new way to do work, it’s time to consider where to start. In all likelihood and depending on the size of your organisation it is highly likely that there will be pockets of knowledge you can draw upon to gauge the extent of exposure to things social. In this post I will limit the discussion to executive level awareness as it is this level of support that will be crucial in determining the ultimate success of your social business journey.

Executives are where they are because they lead others. Introducing a completely new work paradigm will need strong senior management leadership and involvement.

IBM’s CEO Virginia Rometty leads from the front in their adoption of social business as a powerful communication and collaboration tool.

Some questions are going to need answers from this senior group, in order to determine the strategy that will be required to a support a successful social business implementation.

  1. What is the current managerial style? For example authoritarian & hierarchical or democratic & collaborative. Clearly the more authoritarian and hierarchical will mean there is more work to do in introducing the concept of peer to peer input and decision making, however the objective is to know what you’re dealing with. At SocialEffect we have developed tools and processes to assist in developing an implementation framework so no matter what the answers to these tough questions, there is a way of moving forward.
  2. Is there any evidence that the corporate strategy is aligned with the new social landscape? Dig deep here and you may find that some executives are keen participators of external social media, like Facebook and Twitter, but only in a social capacity. Identifying them will help to identify who can assist with presenting business cases and assisting with cause championing..
  3. How switched on to the business of social is your IT department? Does your CIO have a Twitter and/or LinkedIn account? Whilst many new social business software offerings are increasingly Cloud based there will always need to be a strategy of integration and alignment with existing application platforms. Your best friend in rolling out a new technology platform is your IT department.
  4. What degree of collaboration is supported within the organisation? Social business is underpinned by a strong collaborative element. Enhanced collaboration is an enabler as it offers a chance for people from all parts of the organisation to commence conversations on a wide range of contextually relevant topics, opening up transparent lines of communication and problem solving.

As you gather answers to these and other strategically focussed questions, you will have the building blocks for a successful business case justification for the introduction of a social business platform that will enhance the working lives of your fellow employees and potentially customers and suppliers.

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