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The Six Pillars of Social Business - Page 2

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Information has no value if it is locked into a vault and cannot be used. The great value of the web is that it gives us access to so much information. Many organizational cultures are in fact characterized by a “need to know” culture, meaning that you won’t get access information until you explicitly ask for it. But how do you get to know that the information exists and where it is in the first place?

To be open by default, and to actively protect the things we really need to protect instead of protecting everything by default, is simply something we need to learn and make sure to practice.

#3 Transparency

"Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up." Oliver Wendell Holmes, Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court 1902-1932

Without trust, people don’t share in an open and transparent manner. The information system within the organization becomes siloed and opaque, resulting in sub-optimization, duplicated efforts and bad decision-making.

Without information transparency and traceability that allows us to understand who provided a piece of information, and when, we don’t trust the information enough to act upon it. Transparent communication will help drive out fear from an organization, and replace it with trust.

#4 Participation

“Someone outside your organization today knows how to answer your specific question, solve your specific problem or take advantage of your current opportunity better than you do. You need to find them and find a way to work collaboratively and productively with them.”  lan Lafley, former CEO of Proctor & Gamble

Connecting with other people give us a sense of identity, purpose and feeling of belonging. You need to allow and encourage everybody to participate, but also allow them to choose for themselves if and how they want to participate. That’s how you build engagement and commitment to a shared purpose. Employees must also make use of the possibility to participate actively to the identification of problems and realization of improvements. Trust, openness and transparency are the enablers of participation.

#5 Dialogue

"Keep things informal. Talking is the natural way to do business. Writing is great for keeping records and putting down details, but talk generates ideas."  T. Boone Pickens, American business magnate

Most organizations are still governed by management teams that primarily communicate with the workforce by broadcasting corporate messages via one-way communication channels. This style of communication assumes that every receiver has the same pre-understanding, that all the information the receivers need to make the right decisions and actions is contained within the message, that the sender knows the receiver’s situation, and that nothing in the receiver’s situation will change from the second the message is crafted.

This is why people rarely find this kind of communication usable for getting their work done. They prefer communication that is two-way and interactive, as it allows them to quickly reach a shared understanding, make decisions and act accordingly. This style of communication is a necessity in a changing environment where people and organizations need to quickly adapt to new conditions, and their social networks are the conduits for such communication.

#6 Recognition

"Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds. I may be given credit for having blazed the trail, but when I look at the subsequent developments I feel the credit is due to others rather than myself."  Alexander Graham Bell

Contrary to what many people might think, getting recognized for what we do at work is a more important driver for people to perform than monetary rewards. Most people who are passionate about their work just want a decent pay so they don’t have to think about money all the time. Besides that, respect and recognition is what drives most people to share their knowledge and expertise with their peers, rewarding and recognizing people for the right behaviors, not giving monetary rewards, is what builds a sustainable business.

These Times Calls For Leadership

The commonplace solutions to mobilization and coordination of resources such as hierarchies, divisions and processes are not sufficient to deal with the increasing challenges of mobilization and coordination most organizations are facing today, and even less so in the future.


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