It may be tempting to believe that social media’s popularity outside the office will imbue efforts inside if the technology is right. Although there may be some initial enthusiasm, it can quickly vanish. To spur and maintain the adoption of social, companies need to nurture it in a systematic way. Businesses that are making the greatest progress toward becoming a socially connected enterprise focus rigorously on four interrelated areas: leading a social culture, measuring what matters, keeping content fresh and changing the way work gets done.
Leading a Social Culture
Although providing a tool may be a springboard for adoption, it is not enough. Company leaders must actively drive its use. When Teva launched Radar to accelerate the resolution of supply-chain issues, for example, the project gained bottom-up traction because the tool added value to people’s jobs. However, whenever top management support faded, the effort quickly lost steam; with every change in top management, Jean-Francois found herself reaching out to the new leaders and bringing them on board in order to rekindle the momentum. Furthermore, “[for] social collaboration to be successful in business, leaders have to explain the why,” says Michael Slind. “Leaders need to really collaborate and make sure people understand the importance of transparency, shared accountability — and sharing in general.” Connecting social with important business objectives is the crux of “explaining the why.” Morgan Stanley’s Boyman, for example, credits the head of sales for connecting social to business needs and assuring that the bank became a social business leader in its industry. “If I didn’t have the head of our sales force tell me that we have to be the first in the industry to do this, it never would have happened,” says Boyman. “Even when the project hit initial bumps because of the realization it would require IT dollars, he was still committed to keeping people focused and getting the needed resources.” Leadership also plays a pivotal role in creating a social business culture. American Express SVP Leslie Berland notes: “Does the company have leaders who are believers in what’s possible? That’s a big piece of the [social business] puzzle.” At companies known for their social culture, such as Cisco and American Express, an open and collaborative culture is always in the room. “Cisco has a really open culture of transparency and trust,” says Jordan.