goldenpath.jpg“It’s the journey, not the destination.”

This well known cliché holds true for enterprise social maturity. In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her friends traveled the yellow brick road believing the wizard would fix all their problems. Turns out there was no wizard -- just a man behind the curtain. But they didn't need a wizard, because the answers and abilities to solve the problems lay within. 

When you first embark on your journey to enterprise social business, it's hard enough to define the path, have a concept of the grand vision and take the first few steps to piloting and experimenting within a new world of technology. As the journey matures, the focus turns to finding like-minded people to evangelize and support, understanding detractors and defining the boundaries of the path within your organization.

Here are some signposts to be mindful of along your enterprise social journey between the first two stages -- Experimenting and Expanding:

Identify the Other (Informal) Leaders Willing to Go the Distance

Why: During this early part of the journey, seek out others who are willing to lead and who are open to explore new experiences and possibilities. You are not the only one who faces difficulty in communications and collaboration in your organization. Look for others who are seeking a better way, too, and you will all grow from interacting together.

Metric: Core group of key people who will support journey.

The Edges Define the Middle

Why: Find use cases -- both simple and harder to achieve -- and remember, lowest common denominator often wins.

Need a better way to disseminate information to distribution lists? What about another method of communicating with colleagues over geographic boundaries? Remember posts on platforms such as Yammer automatically translate from other languages, giving enough sense to interpret what is needed and allow knowledge to be shared. Do you want input from staff who speak with customers every day but who have never had an email address issued to them to be able to tell you what they are hearing? Or do you want another way to do file sharing with external clients or collaborating on deliverables?

Metric: Number and type of use cases expressed by different parts of the organization.

Engaged Users

Why: As with leaders, the start of your power user community rests in identifying employees who are active on the platform, who interact with others. Whether it’s because they’ve created their own groups or like to share ideas and thoughts they’ve found outside the organization or because they are new in their roles and want to connect with others, you can’t establish and spread the network without them. Engagement can be measured through behavioral interactions, posts, likes, group creation, replies, etc. In social media, it’s not enough to be interesting, you also have to be interested. Enterprise social is a great leveler, new voices will be heard and some people will identify it as an opportunity to raise their profile at work.