Developing a social business approach is something that I have been spending more and more time talking about. It is focusing on making connections across an organisation that can aid problem solving and help to improve communication. There has been some amazingly positive work when companies have allowed employees to go social externally and now it is about replicating that internally. All of which sounds good.
But, I found myself falling into the traditional ‘blinkered’ manager approach when discussing it with one of my staff. The questions I found myself asking were about what we were going to do to ensure staff doing waste time in discussions with their colleagues, and how could we make sure productivity didn’t take a hit with this new social approach. I then stopped and checked myself as I was in the management trap that prevents social being introduced.
I was demonstrating a lack of trust in my staff and a failure to recognise that they are adults and can be left to have professional conversations. They will never be able to maximise the benefits of social within the organisation if I am putting unnecessary restrictions and controls on them. Of course some boundaries are required but these should be as flexible as possible. People aren’t going to be able to innovate to improve organisations if they are put in a straight-jacket around their use of social tools.
One of the most critical elements is feeling as though staff are going to be less productive if they are adopting social business approaches. But this really shouldn’t be the case. If anything introducing social should start to save money and time, improving efficiency as it is easier to identify people to help with a problem, and to learn from other people’s experiences.
Social has so much to offer if we can take a deep breath and allow ourselves to venture into the new realm. I am now taking the plunge to ensure my staff have the freedom to go social.