Is your business looking to go social, but you can’t get support from your CEO? This is where the social business change agent comes in.

A real social business transformation requires a change in behavior -- not just lip service. It requires employees to change the way they do their jobs, communicate, think and work differently. It requires business leaders to realize and adapt to the growing influence of the social customer, tear down organizational silos that’s been plaguing business for decades, and empower teams and employees to share knowledge across job functions and geographies. It requires a significant budget investment in the right social business technology that will help facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing.

At the core of a social business is change; and it has to be driven by leadership and practiced at every level in the organization from the C-suite to middle management and all the way down to a data center manager. This means that executives must not only talk about changing the organization and investing a few grand in social media initiatives, but also exemplify the behaviors that really do facilitate and practice change.

Of course, business is changing today, and certainly various pockets of the organization may resemble what looks like to be a collaborative social business. However, when budgets come in at zero and the execs keep saying “no,” the old school business norms will take root again and silos will rise again. All the technology in the world will not change behaviors. And changing an organization is more than just saying “we want to be a social organization” and then deploying a software application behind the firewall. Leaders have to exemplify the behaviors that they want their teams to adopt and adapt!

It's about Change Management and Leadership

Social business is not about communication. It’s not about technology or Enterprise 2.0. It’s about change management and leadership!

Now this begs the question.What if the CEO is resistant to change? Or maybe he or she is just not interested in creating a collaborative social organization. This is a common scenario, unfortunately.

This is where the social business change agent comes in. This can essentially be one or more individuals in an organization that desire change. Day to day they live through the organizational silos that poison most companies.They realize that the world is changing -- the social customer is gaining influence, participation is mandatory, customers can become advocates if they are paid attention to and the employees can essentially become trusted brand ambassadors. And while the external landscape is changing so quickly, most organizations remain stagnant, slow and stuck in their old ways.

Learning Opportunities

The Attributes of a Social Business Change Agent

So who is the social business change agent? Well, each company is different so it depends. But here are some things to think about if you are looking to nominate yourself as a one.

A social business change agent should be responsible for:

  • Educating others about social business including but not limited to senior executives, employees, partners and customers
  • Facilitating collaboration across job functions, teams, business units and geographies
  • Making strategic recommendations on what type(s) of social technologies to deploy
  • Creating, distributing and managing various governance models (i.e., social media policies, crisis communications and feedback workflows)
  • Asking for more budget every quarter
  • Persuading the C-suite that social business should be a strategic priority and come equipped with case studies and models
  • Demonstrating business value of a social organization

And should understand …

  • Social media-- in terms of being a necessary imperative for an organization to address and successfully interact with the social customer
  • Business basics such as operations, human resources, customers support , finance, etc.
  • Social technologies such as collaboration and community-related software applications
  • Community management, marketing strategy, measurement, i.e., paid, earned and owned media
  • The brand, it’s products and services
  • The basics of change management, culture, communication, collaboration and employee communications/engagement
  • How to articulate change to employees at all levels in the organization

What do you think? What are some other attributes do you think a change agent needs to truly change the organization?

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