Your Thoughts on Social Business Design

One of the things I value most about this blog is my phenomenal community who never fail to contribute and add wisdom and insights to my initial posts. I wanted to take a page out of Darren Rowse’s book today and highlight some really intuitive reader comments on a post I did a couple of weeks ago, “How Social Business Will Impact Employees.”

Unfortunately most people that read blogs probably don’t check out the comments section, other than to see if the admin responded to their comment. That’s a shame, particularly on my blog where you guys are way smarter than me; your insights deserve to be read and shared.

For those that don’t want to read the original I gave a quick summary of social business design (with the help of the team over at Dachis Corporation, highlighted four ways it would impact employees (see below), and speculated on what it meant for Relationship Marketing.

The four ways I stated:

  • Bosses will have to be more accountable
  • Employees can expect less political bull shit
  • Employees who can extract value, connect ideas and decipher complicated analysis will rise to the top
  • People that can work well together in the hivemind will have a leg up on those trying to draw conclusions by themselves

And here’s what you had to say:

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On accountability & fear:

“I’d go a step further and say that not just bosses will be more accountable, but the entire company will be held more accountable for their online and offline actions. Ask United Airlines. Ask Barry Judge at Best Buy. Ask Sanyo.

Social business models break down barriers, leaving them more exposed to criticism, which scares a lot of companies.” — (Jackie Adkins)

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On Connecting and Collaborating:

“I especially like the fourth point that you bring up, specifically when you say, ‘the marketing guy who understands the way his engineers work will now have the systems in place to leverage that connection for the greater good of the company’.

This is such an important point both for employees relating to each other internally, getting out from under their desks and connecting with each other to collaborate and improve interdepartmental understandings, but also this can be extended to include the concept of creating an understanding between a company’s employees AND customers.

Now suddenly, people have a stronger connection with others in their department, their entire company, their investors and their customers…wow, talk about an invaluable perspective that wasn’t attainable before. At the very least, not for such a low overhead company investment.

Then you bring in the idea of creating internal channels for sharing, filtering, consolidating, examining and acting on this information, and you’ve got quite a dynamic, proactive, resourceful and sustainable internal program in the works.” — (Justin Boone)

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On Efficiency:

“The most important product of a social business model is a group of empowered employees completely aligned with the company’s mission and overall goals. Larger companies will be able to weed out those who don’t take a proactive and comprehensive approach to the “bigger picture” leaving only the employees who truly believe in the work they do. As you highlighted, this leads to more efficiency from top to bottom.

A small but effective example: The start up I’m involved with uses a company wiki for everything. All employees can see what everyone else is up to, from daily to-do lists to recent contributions.

From our end, we’ve become extremely efficient by encouraging transparency and participation from everyone.” — (Patrick Ambron)

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On Power Distribution:

“I’m guessing power distribution will not be a company-customer thing only, it will also happen within the company. Transparency, communication and morale will be the pillar’s of tomorrow’s (today’s?) business.” — (Carlos Miceli)

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On Inter-Disciplinary Thinking and Experience:

“Inter-disciplinary thinking will become more critical.

The bees who cross-pollinate successfully will be in greater demand.

Which means college degrees will matter less in the future, on-the-job experience and attitude will matter more.” — (Anita Lobo)

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On the Downside of Social Business:

“I think that social business works both for and against employees. All the points you bring up are excellent, but they all focus on ways that hard working, intelligent and genuine people will get ahead. These are people who will use any tools at their disposal, not just social business. I agree, however, that for the first time in a long time these people are getting recognized more than the people who are just ‘really good’ at playing ‘the game.’

I also think that social business will begin to erode some of the relationships ‘built’ within companies. I’ve seen many people either ingenuine, lazy or just plain oblivious attempt to ‘build relationships’ using social business tools. Mid-level management talking about how they ‘really are friends’ with the regional VP of operations because he accepted her request on FB. (I wish I was making this up…) Then being extremely frustrated and confused as he posts for 4 promotions and isn’t hired for any, cause ‘I know what they want…I’m friends with all of them!’

Additionally, you will always have those people that are just smooth and savvy and much craftier than any of the hard working intelligent driven folks. Many of the same people who have learned to manipulate the current system will eventually learn how to manipulate the social business system. And especially while we have management and executives that may not use it (or if they do, really use it correctly)
Social business IS the next thing to really affect the performance, advancement and relationships of employees (both laterally and vertically) but I don’t think enough people know how to use it TRULY effectively to monopolize all the benefits you outline above.” — (Elisa Doucette)

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Some interesting questions you all brought up to stimulate and perpetuate the discussion further:

For a large company though, how much time and cost would be involved in setting up necessary systems and training employees to use them?

How will this effect the way people get paid – hourly/ weekly or on end project results?
More virtual or face-to-face work environments?

The end of the mega-corporations and the rise of [smaller] regional majors aligned with similar groups across the world – flexible, cost efficient and constantly on the move?

Will the pace of innovation increase?

And finally what does it mean for people on the move? Will the number of people moving across the world for better careers/ lives be greater than ever or will there be a remarkable reduction with virtual offices; in other words, is the world a village again?

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What do you think about highlighting reader comments in a post? Aren’t my readers smart?

What are YOUR thoughts on social business design? It’s a topic I’m increasingly interested in, and I tried to answer many of the above questions in the comments section of the aforementioned post, but you can probably do better than me. OR maybe you can convince David Armano or Peter Kim to stop by and impart their wisdom by taking a stab at a few of the questions.

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