People love to be heard, they love to share their successes, their stories and sometimes, even their pain. When we hear a plea for help, most of us will step forward and assist if we can help in any way.
We are also attuned to be attracted to people who’re like us or who seem interesting to us. Either because they’re like us or because they’re like something we would like to be.
I think it is primarily because of the above 2 reasons that social media has become such a huge success. It has given us all a platform to share, explore, help and be helped, and to learn more than we knew before.
Once upon a time, when I needed information, I bought a book or a periodical. Then came google and Wikipedia, and now there’s Twitter and LinkedIn.
Interestingly enough, when CEOs reach out to me, their primary requests are:
Get rid of silos
Improve speed of response/Agility/Flexibility
And when I look at what social media has brought to the table, I see an immediate connection.
I have been very active on LinkedIn for a long time now, and am a recent advocate and user of Twitter and an active, though new blogger.
There is a meritocracy/ideocracy that prevails across this socio-sphere. It doesn’t matter if you’re a geek or a greek-God type hunk. Doesn’t matter if you’re young or old or a secretary or a VP. As long as you put up something that resonates with people, that makes sense, they will pay attention. They will contribute. They will listen. They will coalesce around shared issues and pains and desires.
No Silos. No Hierarchy. Immense amount of knowledge and information sharing. No hoarding, no powerplay. Everything that an organization would kill to have! The benefits?
Knowledge sharing & management
Information dissemination at the speed of light
However, so far most of this impact is restricted to the world outside the organization. I know of no implementation of any of these media in an organization in India. I assume there must be a few such implementations in some organization somewhere. But I haven’t heard of it yet.
Just to imagine the impact of a Twitter implementation in the workplace gives me goosebumps!
• The ability to ask a question and have the entire organization available to you to come up with an answer.
• The ability to post news, to announce progress updates, to request for help.
• The ability to seek referendum of a sort.
• To be able to create a space where victories are shared and others can ask how and learn
• The ability to reach out to the one person who you think can make a difference
• The ability to escalate an idea at the speed of light, get an opinion on it, version it through rapid dialog, discuss, re-discuss, and then propose – All of this along with your stakeholders across geographies and hierarchies!
The Mind boggles!
An implementation of LinkedIn in the workplace.
• A storehouse of the resources at your disposal
• Ability to search across the organization to find the competency/skillset you’re looking for
• Posting questions, getting a variety of answers
• The Q/A pool becomes a kind of storehouse of knowledge across the organization – Available to all who come after or seek similar learning
• Inter-connectedness and networking
• Posting jobs/Responding to vacancies
And as a result, a culture of openness, knowledge sharing, collaboration, meritocracy and ideocracy. What more can you ask?
I am an organization development and change practitioner. So far, most of my work has involved changing mindsets, moving people from their settled states. And helping them setup and adopt processes that are designed to achieve the above.
It is never easy to enable any kind of change, and it has always been a journey of 3-4 years to achieve some of the above objectives.
However, the more I experience Social media, the more I realize that things might be different as we go forward. People are already using these tools, they are already on LinkedIn, Twitter, FaceBook and already realize the benefits that come from using them.
By introducing Social Media into the organization we would be riding the tide, not pushing people against a direction they didn’t want to go, or didn’t understand. We would be harnessing a competence that is already developed. No new training needed. And we’d be unleashing creative energies that would rival what goes on in the social space today, within the microcosm of an organization.
How will this happen?
CEOs, OD, HR folk will have to become active users and consumers of this technology for them to be able to envisage it’s utility across the organization. And then to implement it in the spirit in which it is conceived.
CIOs/CTOs must act as advisers and partners in making it happen or introducing such concepts to non-tech folks.
Organizations could look at pilots within a department or SBU to test-run and lead the initiative to success before taking it organization-wide.
Management colleges need to include this in their curriculum and I don’t mean in their MBA but in their Exec Ed curriculum. How many Premiere B schools today, have the use of Social Media as part of their AMP curriculum?
And, tongue in cheek, but true nonetheless, Tweeters, need to get more non-social media folks on board. Have more dialog/discussion around such subjects. And drive the movement, no one knows the benefits of this technology better!
Is what I am sharing far fetched? Can it really happen? Would it work?