TITLE SLIDE OPTION 2David Thompson Amy Frye Social Is Dead. Long Live Social.Boehringer Ingelheim logo
SLIDE ONEWe were invited to talk to you about “How Top Companies Leverage Social Media”. To appropriately set some expectations, our focus is internal, and we’ll suggest that while social tools are important, this is about social in its broadest sense: people.
SLIDE TWOOur presentation in a nutshell. We’re going to share some general thoughts on organizations, the intersection of organizations and social technology, and how this ultimately has nothing to do with tools, and everything to do with people.
SLIDE THREEOrganizations. Turns out there are only a handful of structures that we as a species have explored for organizing to do work. The traditional organizational model of most for-profit companies is the classical hierarchy (or something closely related to it).
SLIDE FOUROne of our beliefs is that high-functioning organizations in the 21st Century will increasingly adopt a non-traditional organizational model – and that this shift will drive engagement, productivity, and profit.
SLIDE FIVEThere are a number of drivers to this shift, including demography and technology. To wit:ever-present internal & external volatility, the fact that innovation now comes from the outside (your company’s IT, for example, is no longer a monopoly – it’s expected to mirror the home experience)and globalization (of both talent & market).
SLIDE SIXArguably the largest driver is the need for agility, and innovation is the biggest aspirational desire of most businesses. Hierarchies do not prohibit agility, but they do not necessarily assist it either. Similarly for innovation. All of this sounds complex. And, it is. It’s exactly that: complex.
SLIDE SEVENHierarchies are ill-suited to handle complexity. Actually, they’re perfectly suited for it as long as the Woman heading your Company is infallible. Usually that’s not the case. Most hierarchical systems rely on predictability – and human situations are rarely that. Interestingly, another organizational motif, that of ‘networks’, are a little better at handling complexity.
SLIDE EIGHTNetworks have been the rage for several years now, but they are not new; far from it. Patterns of interaction between people follow rules and exhibit dynamics that lag with respect to the speed with which we can create digital representations of them. That is: it’s easier to modify Facebook – or even to build it – than it is to change human behavior.
SLIDE NINEFacebook made it into the public consciousness in a way that drove innovation at work. The self-governed network became the venue for conversation and expression. We’ll assume you have an Enterprise Social Network at your workplace. Congratulations. You have profiles, a feed, groups, and badges; wonderful stuff. Everything you expect from a social network, but at work.
SLIDE TENNow’s when the fun begins. We’re sure you have always asked your employees ‘’how they felt?’’ as part of periodic culture or engagement surveys. Perhaps you asked them quarterly, annually, or biannually. You then, hopefully, took those responses and connected the feedback with results, quickly enough that your employee base could see that connection.
SLIDE ELEVENContrast this to now: through the Enterprise Social Network you have in place, your colleagues are telling *you* something of how they’re feeling – and all of the time. And there’s an expectation that you’re listening, and will do something. Right now. Lengthy threads of comments are meant to be acted upon, not ignored.YES
SLIDE TWELVE But, here’s the kicker. How many of you have a way of sustainably making use of your social channels to drive actionable outcomes on a meaningful timeframe? As a hint, this isn’t a technology question; this is an organizational structure question.
SLIDE THIRTEENAt BI we have been playing about with this for a couple of years now, and our most recent iteration we’re calling Organizational Effectiveness. And, it’s a type of – buzzword warning – constrained social innovation.
SLIDE FOURTEENSounds fancy, right? Let’s demonstrate by example. Last August, we posed the senior leadership team the following: “What systemic issues are getting in the way of your being agile”. This is a tough question. We got back X replies from Y leaders; ranging from single sentence responses to multi-paragraph opportunities (and everything else in between).
SLIDE FIFTEENWe aggregated the responses into themes, and validated those themes with the leaders. This is an opportunity for them to examine the path we’ve taken. And is, I believe, nothing more than good conversation – inquiry, listening, and follow-up.
SLIDE SIXTEENWe then had some of the leaders share this discussion with the organization through one of our Social Channels. The leaders were available to facilitate an employee discussion for an hour, and we looked for any and all of the following input from participants: additional insight, refinement, further validation, frustration, next steps etc.
SLIDE SEVENTEENThe people with the most constructive passion around a topic (“I observe, and suggest …” versus “This sucks, why can’t you get this right?”) were approached after the fact to gauge their interest in making the issue ‘better’.
SLIDE EIGHTEENOne area of frustration was our electronic learning platform. People felt we spent too much time on training that wasn’t of sufficient additional value to warrant the time we were spending. In just three months, a team of ‘constructively passionate’ volunteers removed over 10K hours of training from our learning plans.
SLIDE NINETEENThis is one example from the portfolio of ongoing Organizational Effectiveness projects. We’ve engaged hundreds of people in this activity, from all across our business – in terms of both function and geography, and at all levels of our company; much of it mediated through our social channels. It’s working because it mimics the agility of the platform itself.
SLIDE TWENTYThis evolving process actively engages employees by tapping into the informal networks riddled throughout our company. Employee participation represents a development opportunity they choose to engage in based on their passion for a topic. Results so far are very encouraging. Social is Dead. Long live Social.