From the experience of leading a number of social business transformations, from observations in working with individual executives and from deep insights gained from extensive transformation discussion mini-jams, the #1 takeaway has been that success starts with the why. Start with the why, then get into the how and then get into the what.

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What is the Why?
The Why is about “what’s in it for me”, “how does this impact the work I do”, “what value does this bring for me”? For some, they make the connections intuitively.  For others, it may be not be clear. Starting with what this means for the individual and how it relates to the work they are doing is the foundation for all change management practices, and experience certainly validates this when leading teams and organizations into what is likely a new way of working… it’s a cultural shift as much as a process shift.

Social Business:
Enabling enterprise wide open collaboration
Optimizing workforce and listening to social data to gain actionable insights
Creating exceptional employee and customer experiences
Providing a trusted environment with clear guidelines and practices
Action >> Social is the future of work…. To learn more I would suggest going here and clicking on the “Read the IBM POV”  

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Don’t Skip to the End
The tendency is to skip right to the end, past the why, the how and get right into the what — the tools. The tools… the new shiny objects. It’s tempting to jump right into how to do X and Y in Z step process. What we’ve seen, is that when you do this, there will be people scratching their heads, thinking about the “why” questions.  Then, the walls of resistance go up; there is no interest, no spark, no enthusiasm.  Christine Comaford explains this beautifully in her book, “Smart Tribes”, when she talks about the critter mind and the smart mind. (Highly recommend this book, btw). You need to wins hearts, before you can shape minds. 

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The Why? In Practice
Here are some things to think about and discuss with your team as you lead change in how your organization/business/company shifts work, leveraging the various aspects of social business to better engage and optimize your employees, build deep loyalty with your clients/partners, engage open collaborative working, harness a transparent way of working by managing operational policy and risk.  

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To include in your social transformation planning:

  • Explain the change in the marketplace – the rise of the connected economy, the social buyer
  • Talk about how each employee can become a waling brand ambassador – each person can shape public perceptions about the organization by influencing their personal networks
  • Walk people through use scenarios of what working social might mean for their specific role/function in the organization – use examples, but allow people freedom to innovate new creative approaches you might not foresee
  • Help people see the impact to day-to-day operations – you can compare contrast today (closed private email with limited impact vs open collaboration for larger impact, difference between what a person knows and the value from sharing what they know with others so that the group becomes smarter….)
  • Paint a picture of what the outcome might look like – what would success stories look like, with employees internally, and with clients/partners externally 


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When People Get the Why – They Self Motivate to Achieve the How and the What
When people see and buy in to the change, into social business transformation, they will then make that initial step and get started. One step leads to another step and before you know it, you have momentum. Before you know it, Champions will begin to emerge – people who outpace others, people with extra passion, people who really get it… and they can become a tremendous source for peer support, helping their teammates along on the journey. 

Do you have any success stories you would like to share?
What kinds of ah ha moments have you had in transitioning to working social?

Hope you find this helpful. Please let me know if there is any way I can help you.