Saturday, November 26, 2011

What do you think about the future of work and business?

Will it be more knowledge-intense?
Will it require increasing specialization?
Will it need to get done faster?
Will it require better use of talent?
Will it require more creativity and innovation?
Will it require that we use our intellectual and social capital more effectively?
Will it require more involvement of customers, partners and other external stakeholders?
Will it need to change and adapt to changing conditions more rapidly?
Will it require faster access to information and expertise?
Will it require people to collaborate more?
Will it require organizations to collaborate more?

If you answer yes to most of these questions, when do you plan to get started to prepare for success (or avoid extinction)?
In five years from now?
In three years?
How much time do you have that your competitors don't have?
How do you know they didn't start already yesterday?
When are you going to find out?
How about now?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Social business can be really simple

Sometimes we tend to overcomplicate things, and we fail to see the forest for the trees. The same applies for social business.

Social business doesn't have to be that hard - and it shouldn't be. In fact, by focusing on the core, social business can be made really simple.

The core of social business is to create transparent and open digital environments that people are free to join and where they can participate and engage in conversations with anyone about the things they care about. At work, the things people care about would most likely be their work, their colleagues, their customers, and their shared objectives and purpose. You can mobilize them to engage about virtually anything, be it ideas, tasks, customers, products, continuous improvement, or processes.

When people can gather around the things they care about, even if what they care about is just to get their work done, they get the opportunity to get to know and build trust in each other, creating and developing the kind of relationships that make up the foundation of sustainable organizations.

This is why connecting people is the core of social business, and here are four ways to do it and why you should do it.

#1 Connect people to each other
When people can connect to each other and engage in conversations about the thinkgs they care about, they are likely to become more engaged and develop a sense of shared identity that turns them into more motivated, productive and cooperative coworkers.

#2 Connect people to their work
When people can connect to their tasks and the information and people they need to perform those tasks, it will increase their efficiency and productivity because they will get the right things done in the right way faster.

#3 Connect people with shared interests
When people who share the same interests or challenges can connec and share (reuse) expertise and lessons across borders, it increases effectiveness by reducing sub-optimization, improving decision-making and reducing redundant work.

#4 Connect people to their markets
When people can connect to people and information residing outside their own organizations, they get the opportunity to listen and learn from, as well as influence, their ever-changing and dynamic external environment. That enables them to anticipate and address problems and opportunities, to become more proactive. It contributes to making the organization as a whole more responsive and agile and increases it's ability to innovate and grow.

So, the core of social business is to connect people with other people, tasks and information. That way you can mobilize people throughout the workforce, activating the relevant talent and expertise, to achieve just about anything.

For many organizations a good starting point is to increase employee engagement by connecting people. Social software can help you do that, but like any technology social software is just an accelerator. It is not the spark that lights the fire. Whatever it is that might make people in your organization feel disempowered, you will need to find the root cause and fix it. By enabling people to connect and have conversations, you will probably find out where you should be looking.