Sunday, 30 June 2013

Happy Social Media Day!

Social business is a mindset. The business becomes open, transparent and collaborative”
(Brian Solis)

Today sees the celebration of the Social Media Day. What a better opportunity (or excuse!) to blog. Writing particularly on social media for internal communications, it amazes me the power and potential they have on our professional lives, organisations and communities. Yet, we are still at the beginning. Many will be their future developments.

So, better to continue having an open mind and open heart when approaching these tools. With that I mean consciusly experimenting, learning, studying and seeking to understand their impacts on our ways of communicating and working.

Indeed, it is not me to say that internal social media have been transforming the way our organisations operate. Recently, social media strategist Silvia Cambie wrote about a fascinating case study of leadership blogging and involvement with internal social media. When reading her post, I was particularly caught by the idea of 'digital listening'. Social media have been requiring us to bring to work a new kind of mindset, skills and approach to communications.

Among all its consequences, this movement has been implying to reinvent and develop the role of internal communications further. That is to help to support the new way of working 'socially' inside our organisations. Surely, any internal social media journey is unique and varies depending on each company.

While stressing the difference between social media and social business (they are not the same thing), Brian Solis from Altimetergroup, highlights the fact that social media are enablers of social business. In particular, he suggests six stages of the social business evolution:

  1. Planning: “Listen to Learn”. Listen to and monitor where you are and where you want to be. This phase requires the company to define specific business goals and objectives for listening; select metrics based on those business goals; select and invest in a monitoring platform; disseminate learning and identify opportunities for the future.

  2. Presence: “Stake our Claim”. Create and encourage a culture of sharing. “Sharing is the foundation of social business”. This stage focuses on linking the social media presence to business objectives, developing sharable content and establishing governance with an eye on the future.

  3. Engagement: “Dialogue deepens relationship”. Provide support. This phase suggests to take a strategic steps to engagement; create rules and processes for engagement; look beyond metrics to understand value creation; communicate the impact of engagement broadly; scale invest in  SMMS (Social Media Management Systems) and audit regularly for new social media usage.

  4. Formalized: “Organised for Scale”. This stage sees discipline, processes and strategic development. “Social business exists across the whole enterprise and needs to be formalised”.
    It requires awareness of the CoE (Center of Excellence) pitfall; development of a formal social business organisational model; definition of the role of the CoE; continuity to coordinate strategy to CoE, and development of stronger connections to business metrics.

  5. Strategic: “Becoming a Social Business”. This stage sees the SMMS to scale employees as well as C-level involvement. “Social pushes into all the part of the business. The organisation engages the executives beyond the champion with focused pilots; integrates CoE into core business functions; masters Big Data for intelligence, and leverages the Enterprise Social Network platform.

  6. Converged: “Business is Social”. Eventually, 'social' drives transformation into all aspects of the enterprise, it is embedded in its DNA. In this final stage, analytics and insights lead to adaptive and predictive strategies. This phase requires to redefine the company's vision to integrate social, align incentives around convergence, and redefine the CoE's role.

The final goal is to 'create value', Brian Solis stresses

What I like of Brian Solis's view is the emphasis on the 'social' aspect of doing social business. In all his works he stresses the importance - and shows the benefits - of focusing on understanding the 'human being', the experiences and conversations happening beyond the tools and technologies. And here, is where the huge potential for internal communications lies.

Happy Social Media Day!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

#thebigyak: a truly social learning experience

I spent a fascinating day yesterday at #thebigyak, the internal communications unconference organised by @TheICCrowd. I had been looking forward to attending this event since months ago when I booked the ticket and finally the 22nd June arrived.

A very meaningful day for internal communicators, the biggest opportunity was to feel connected, united by a common passion and interest for the profession, openly and transparently talk, share and learn all together.

I fully enjoyed the social aspect of the unconference. With its unstructured nature, the event gave birth to a powerful sharing of knowledge, experiences, tips, opinions and ideas, among all the participants. The agenda was entirely owned and shaped by us, the attendees.

The value brought by the contributions of everyone – coming from a different range of organisations - was compelling. Relevant, useful discussions and conversations emerged from this type of format.

Indeed, lots of notes to take during the day, something that I did very enthusiastically through the beloved @simplycomm's tweets. Yet, it was the 'artefacts' (as @benjaminellis called them) produced by everyone together that made the real difference and created a huge sense of learning within the group (see the whole storify by @AllthingsIC).

Among the very many topics discussed at #thebigyak I particularly enjoyed the one on internal social media. Below are a few of my take aways on the subject:

  • Today, while everyone seems to talk about internal social media, the topic still appears to be very challenging inside many organisations. In particular, the benefits seem not to be understood enough by leadership. Leaders appear to be especially afraid of losing their power and control. Giving voice to all employees can be seen as a threat. However, internal communicators need to talk with and help them understand the business advantages. For example, social media can allow a company to find and recognise internal knowledge relevant to business innovation. Yet, a 'let go' approach must be put into place. A leader becomes truly social when she/he sees a comment and really take notice of that.

  • The way of living and working of Generation Y will change the way organisations communicate digitally with their employees.

  • The identification of social media mavens - 'champions'- inside organisations is very important to start driving adoption.

  • The role of the Community Manager is crucial to internal social media and should not be overlooked.
  • Considering the company culture of the organisation is a fundamental  prerequisite. Every culture is unique and so it is the internal social media' journey of any business.
  • Social media can been seen as an opportunity for internal communicators for gathering powerful employees' feed-back as well as listening to them. Social media can give better insights into employees' thinking and drive better messages as a consequence. However, rather than being purely messengers, internal communications professionals should be 'conversation makers'. Enterprise social networks can allow these meaningful digital conversations happen inside organisations.                                                        
The event was perfectly organised from the very beginning to the end. I was very pleased to meet many old friends as well as develop new relationships with this amazing community of internal communications people! 

Many thanks to @theICCrowd and @benjaminellis for organising the unconference in that way. Thank you also to everyone who was there to make the day a truly social learning experience on internal communications!

Really looking forward to keeping the conversation going on...

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Quotes of the Week

Today I wish to collect quotes from some of the blogs' posts that I read during the week.

I do love when I come across content that challenges my thinking and makes me reflect about the world our organisations (and ourselves with them) have been living.
What does all that mean for communications and engagement?”, “What's the future beyond the current trend?”, my mind wonders.

We are witnessing the birth of a new business model, one that is ruled by co-words like co-ideate, co-build and co-market. In this disruptive eco-system...the crowd is becoming the company…which is good news for internal communicators. Silvia Cambie 

Extending collaboration toward cooperation, across boundaries and silos, will ensure that workers stay connected and adaptable to changing conditions. Harold Jarche 

Innovative social business applications of the near future will incorporate a...model of curation.” Stowe Boyd 

To help positively transform the business world, with digital transformation as the catalyst.” Will McInnes 

A plan involves the hard and dreary and difficult work of a thousand brave steps, of doing things that might not work, of connecting and caring and bringing generosity when we don't think we have any more to bring.” Seth Godin 

Social networks are a great way to identify novel ideas (including existing knowledge that might have been previously overlooked). Martyn Perks 

Adopting internal social media enables what is called multivocality, essentially going beyond controlled one-way internal corporate communication. Kevin Ruck

Every threat has its antagonist. Disruption is only thwarted, or also fueled by, innovation.” Brian Solis 

Changing to a culture of work narration is not merely developing writing skills but embracing openness.” Harold Jarche 

In the coming years, there will be a shift toward what is now known as contextual computing... Always-present computers, able to sense the objective and subjective aspects of a given situation, will augment our ability to perceive and act in the moment based on where we are, who we’re with, and our past experiences. These are our sixth, seventh, and eighth senses...Even office productivity will move to such a model.” Pete Mortensen 

The shortcut that satisfies us in the moment gets in the way of our long term goals.” Seth Godin 

The best experiences and the biggest ideas don't fit into a category. They change it. They don't get filed away, they transform us.” Seth Godin 

How about you? Have you read anything in particular this week that has challenged your thinking and reflections on internal communications, internal social media and engagement? 

Saturday, 8 June 2013

First week of June: #leweb & #simplyTV

Here I am, full of happiness, at the end of another special week at simply-communicate.

Within this post I wish to write about #leweb conference held in London on 5th-6th June as well as yesterday's #simplyTV show!

For the ones who might not have heard about #leweb before, it is the Europe's leading internet conference on innovation and entrepreneurship. The theme of this year was the 'Sharing Economy', a fascinating topic indeed! The digital age we have been living in is bringing us new ways of communicating, thinking, behaving, experiencing our lives, selves and relationships, building on-line and off-line communities. Yes, disruptive are our times, as many define them. Yet, so fascinating and full of opportunities for the ones who are able and willing to respond to them. I feel drawn by an irresistible energy and attraction towards understanding this 'disruption'. Shall we fear it? No, we shouldn't. #leweb gave me the confirmation of this one more time. We should open ourselves to the greatest potential these forces are offering us and make the most positive moves ahead to a brighter future.

I followed the conference twitting from @simplycomm and also had the wonderful opportunity to attend some presentations directly from the event.

I was delighted to listen to the talks by Leah Busque, CEO of @TaskRabbit. I had heard about her innovative company months ago and found the concept behind her business very powerful. @TaskRabbit was presented at #leweb as "A vision for revolutionising the way people work led Leah Busque to pioneer the concept of 'service networking'. The company's website explains the way it works: "An online and mobile marketplace that connects neighbors to get things done. We connect busy people who need a little extra time with entrepreneurial people who need a little extra money. It's an elegant, singular solution to two big problems."
The company was set up in 2008 and since then it has seen many changes and grown heavily. During the conference Leah Busque was describing how the business - initially born by giving people the opportunity to perform little tasks on an occasional basis - has led many of them to fight unemployment as well as leverage a total new set of skills. Indeed, fascinating.
For someone with a strong passion for internal communications certainly there is quite a lot to think about these new ways of living and experiencing work. What does this mean for internal communication and workplace relationships? Let's see what the networking age brings us.

Another very interesting presentation at #leweb was the one given by Robert Scoble from @Rackspace during a panel discussion on stage. He shown and entertained the audience on the key features of Google Glass as well as discussed some of its impacts and implications on our lives. As an article via Guardian reports, there was a particular debate around:Does Glass make people more or less human? "It makes me more social," said Scoble. "If I hear my phone buzz, I have to pull it out and look at it, and then I'm totally distracted... It's 'look at it, turn it off' [with Glass]'s the most controversial new product of my lifetime".
In fact, we are talking about new ways of experiencing and thinking space, time and relationships. After his talk I had the chance to meet Robert Scoble outside the stage and test a pair of Google Glass. By using voice commands people can tweet, watch the weather forecast, film video, read news, search for information, make bookings, get direction with google maps, take and share pictures, just to name a few of the things allowed by the new technology. Once again, fascinating!

Now, getting back to our beloved internal communications the questions we may want to ask ourselves are: “What's the potential for businesses if they bring these new types of technologies inside their organisations? How do the dynamics of work, relationships with colleagues, communications and innovation develop?”

At simply-communicate, we discussed this during the #simplyTV show run yesterday, on Friday 7th June. In particular, journalist and senior consultant Silvia Cambie - who was at #leweb - interviewed communicator and blogger Neville Hobson who joined us remotely directly from the conference. The interview touched many essential points on the impact of digital communications within the workplace, key trends and what to expect in future. These conversations generated many tweets from the audience!

Following these insightful discussions, the show featured other interesting guests talking about internal communications. Publisher Marc Wright interviewed:
  • Sean Trainor from Uber Engagement on managing change programmes and employee engagement (if you wished to know more about the topic, here is an article just published on the simply-communicate magazine);
  • Jenny Devenport from Kingston University on their Master Degrees for internal communicators who wish to combine studies with work, as well as academic with practical learning (again, an article has just been released on the simply-communicate magazine);
  • The IC Crowd and Benjamin Ellis on their #thebigyak conference (actually un-conference) that they are organising for many internal communications professionals on 22nd June in London.

During the show, I also had the great pleasure to interview Professor Christian Stadler from Warwick Business School, who joined us to discussed his recent study on leadership styles ('Why good leaders don't need charisma'). He presented his insights on 'Intelligent Conservatism', a successful leadership approach that leverages the power of listening and engaging employees into decision-making processes. I had been in contact with Prof. Stadler since two months ago for writing an article on his research, which if you were interested is published on the simply-communicate magazine.

Indeed, this week at simply-communicate has been another one full of inspiring experiences, delightful people and a big bag full of learning resources! Looking forward to the new amasing internal communications, internal social media and employee engagement things that the rest of June will bring!