Still scared of social media?

A colleague and veteran leadership coach asked us our take on why most organizations still fear social media based on this HBR article.  Here's why we think you should care and how to go about getting down to the business of social...

The never-ending chasm of change

The implications of the social web are readily apparent and increasing every day in the business environment. Social media continues to act as a catalyst to change the dynamics of our workforce, while re-defining relationships with our colleagues and our customers.  This is not new. And it's not going away. Ignoring it is akin to asking your teen to enter high-school sans a texting device.  Sure she could still show up - but the ramifications socially and experientially would be crippling. (WARNING: do not try this at home - your teen may actually explode. Thx for the insight DB & KB.)

It makes organizations admit they suck

And nobody likes to do that.

This new social glue forces organizations to critically evaluate their ability to collaborate effectively internally. If you can't collaborate and communicate effectively on the inside, you definitely can't do it well in the outside world.  It's a tough pill to swallow.  You have to admit you're really really bad at something.  And often, getting the executive to admit that internal communication is a feat not unlike getting the Academy give an Oscar to a superhero movie.

It's actually really hard

It's tough to see active media as long term change management.  It moves faster than your business cycle. It's hard to know where to start. It's tough to decide who ultimately owns it internally. When there's more questions than answers, many leaders default to the status quo. But that's no more an option than Mad Men bourbon and stogies for your 10am team debrief.

How to fix it and where to start

Social media is arguably today's most transformative tool to extend your brand narrative. (So, it's important.) 

Start in the middle of your organization and work to spread and change over time. Drive outwards but get it straight in-house first. 

Internally, you can use it to prove to your boss that a distributed knowledge base is infinitely more useful and effective than siloed knowledge.  Share. The. Love.  The goal is to generate a continual spread of information that's embraced and supported by your management team.

If you're able to use social media to distribute culture internally, even on a small scale, it's tough for the most ardent of social medias naysayer to ignore.

Myths that can't be allowed to stand

Technology is not a productivity killer. But certain people are.

Social media has no ROI.  If that's the measure, then we'll have to include most meetings, staff parties, executive-sponsored employee breakfasts, "strategic alignment initiatives", vision statements, working from home and taking coffee breaks.  'Cause you'd be just as hard-pressed to come up with an ROI analysis on these rampant business practises.

Wrap it up already

The rise of the Internet, the rise of mobile devices and the rise of the social web enable new kinds of encounters, new kinds of information and unprecedented opportunity for influence, consumer confidence and trust in the 21st century market place.  Corporations have leveraged every other traditional method of influence at their disposal since Charlton and his tablet-driven Exodus from Egypt.

Today, we have these incredibly powerful social platforms that relentlessly invite us to be thoughtful, respectful and above all, add value to our work and our comunities.

And in that, dear friends, there's nothing to fear.