Having a culture that supports innovation, change and risk taking are the three most compelling attributes that will assist you in being able to adapt to a Social Business operational model. Part of the challenge though is to figure out what your organisation culture is and therefore what sort of effort may be required to either achieve these attributes, or at least get as close to them as possible.
Mark Fidelman, in his book “Socialized” describes a process for determining the type of culture your organisation currently displays and following that the likelihood of being able to adapt to a social business model. Mark’s process is to essentially get you to do a deep dive into the various ways the organisation now operates and from there categorizing the organisation as having one of the following cultures:
Innovative culture - visionary, entrepreneurial, risk taking
Community culture - coaching, supportive, consensus driven
Execution culture - competitive, demanding, challenging
Command and control culture - hierarchical, process driven
Adolescent culture - impetuous, short-sighted, self-centred
Fidelman also goes on to state that in a Command and Control management model “The prevailing wisdom preaches control by the commanding executive and a narrative of obedience by the employee. Social business stresses a culture of openness and experimentation, and emphasizes the necessity of community”.
We can clearly see that the Adolescent culture, with a score of 1 out of 10 is one where there is an enormous amount of work required to transform to a social business. If you are employed by that organisation and am convinced that social business is the best management model going forward, you may want to consider whether working for a more enlightened organisation is a better option.
The Fidelman process for determining your organisation’s culture is both efficient and effective and quickly gives you key relevant information to work with. As the executive is going to be the key sponsor, it is they who should be targeted to assess the organisations culture. Once the culture is known it is then a process of establishing the key business imperatives for the adoption of social business.
Lastly the path to changing culture is not in most cases a quick fix exercise. The current organisational culture has been in place for many years and in some cases decades, so plan the necessary steps carefully and be extremely aware of prejudice, bias, opposition to change of any type, built up fears and other objections.
If possible attempt to find interesting and innovative ways of demonstrating both the power and benefits of a social business model. Also enlist the services of professionals or other organisations who have already climbed the mountain.