Going social: 7 things your CEO needs to know

July 31, 2014  |   Blog   |     |   Comments Off on Going social: 7 things your CEO needs to know

We’ve been doing a lot of work recently assisting organisations to make the most of Enterprise Social Networking.

From our perspective everyone is feeling the pressure to “go digital”, but virtually no one knows what that means or why its important. Even more ambiguity exists when you ask people to discern the distinction between digital and social… the truth is that it’s a blurry line but one thing is certain: organisations that don’t know their “why’s or whats” when going digital are committing to fail.

When senior leaders see social they almost always get disorientated and struggle to understand what it means to them. They generally have no idea of how to use it or the value it can create which usually results in fear… Fear of having to deal with complaints from across the organisation, fear of being inundated by peoples holiday photos, fear that going social means the death of productivity.

While many of their fears are unfounded, there are some common pointers we’ve found leaders need to know when starting out:

  1. 1. The Digital shift is here to stay: digital connective technologies are the fastest growing technologies in human history… ever. They’re not just changing how we connect as individuals but also how we engage and structure our businesses to offer and exchange value across the end-to-end ecosystems that surround our organisations. This shift is profound and we ain’t seen nothing yet.
  2. 2. Building strategic digital capability delivers commercial value: According to Capgemini’s Digital Advantage study, companies that go digital well are an average of 26% more profitable than their traditional counterparts, while those that go digital poorly can look forward to reducing their profits by -6% (even though research shows that their revenue may actually increase). The choice is this: either go digital and set the pace, or remain as you are and give your competitors the advantage.
  3. 3. Social facilitates digital: Going digital is not just about tablets and smart phones… its about tapping into the collective intelligence of our business ecosystems to deliver digital innovation across a spectrum of areas in a way that is directed and purposeful. For our money, social is the most effective engine through which consensus can be built and digital facilitated.
  4. 4. Social is not a sliver bullet… companies develop their capabilities over 3 main stages: Create & build, engage & grow, activate & monetize. Why is this important to know? Because all too often the expectation is of a silver bullet but the reality is that it takes time and effort and that commercialising is a honed outcome rather than the starting point itself.
  5. 5. Senior leadership participation is compulsory! Senior leaders often think digital/social is something they can delegate… its not. Communities without senior leadership participation will fail… they become listless, meandering beasts where value is delivered incidentally rather than strategically.
  6. 6. In the world of social, inane discussions are critical! Off-topic discussions (aka conversations about peoples lunch, interests or holidays) are frequently discouraged by senior leaders. What they don’t realise is that these discussions build valuable connectivity between employees that later get used for work purposes – we don’t ban off topic conversation around the coffee pot, why should online be different? The trick is not to kill this activity but to let it grow in a way that is managed and segmented.
  7. 7. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable; Innovation rarely occurs when everything is great. It usually results when things are broken and broken things come wrapped in frustration. If you want to generate business value using digital you need to be comfortable in handling frustration constructively… slamming conversation down kill future contributions, whilst guiding them constructively leads to resolution, encourages future dialogue and generates ongoing value.

What else do you think leaders need to know?

Scott (31 Posts)

CEO Digital Infusions

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