Dusting off old arguments

There’s an entire industry growing up out the organisation’s fear of social media, but it really needn’t be the ‘complicated’ discussion that nobody wants to have. The first thing we need to do as consultants and communicators is to ensure that any discussion about social media is placed squarely in the context of ALL communications.

Whether it’s phone, email or just an old fashioned chinwag, to hold social media apart from other methods of communication, is a huge mistake. By making it something that your people approach differently, you’re creating the first opportunity for them to fail at it.

Yes the rules are different, it’s fast moving and it affords people who will say silly things the opportunity to say more silly things, publicly. So help them. Help them see how and where social media can fit in with and benefit the way they work.

After all, we’ve been here before with email and look how good we are at that. emailcharter.org

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Selling cultural change one paper at a time

Well this has been a long seven days. It’s always tough returning from holiday but I’ve found it particularly difficult this time out.

For me, it’s the momentum. I always build up to such a crescendo of controlled panic before annual leave that it feels impossible to slow down. Then I do. To a complete stop!

So anyway, a period of adjustment, the clearing of emails, finding importance in the unimportant…and I’m back!

To what? Well to version 5 of what feels like my life’s work, a document called ‘Changing the game: brand promise, cultural change and social media’. (A version change in my mind is scrapping at least 50% of the previous version. Of small changes…there have been many!)

I spent all day Wednesday on the Executive Summary, making sure I leave no room for anyone to say no.

No to investment in technology. We want to bring Jive into Grant Thornton. We think it will be a good fit and frankly,in terms of social collaboration platforms, it’s the best we’ve seen.

But more importantly, we can’t leave room for our board to say no to the investment (in time, understanding and advocacy, not always monetary) we’re making in social communication, in supporting deep cultural change and ultimately in challenging the way we do business at Grant Thornton.

In investing heavily in our brand and our people’s understanding of it, they’ve endorsed everything I ever thought social media could bring to our business; individual responsibility and action, connected knowledge, true thought leadership, speed to market, the absolute importance of dialogue.

But that’s all direction and intent. What we have the ability to do now is show Grant Thornton people a way to get involved in that direction, led from the top. We already had three members of our board on Twitter before this week and on Tuesday I helped our CEO set up his account (more on that to come).

And that is what I think every business needs as it thinks more about social communication and external social media. A real understanding at the top of why it’s important, why we should be there and the ability to demonstrate it through authentic use of it themselves.

So, version 5 it may well be, but it’s closer than ever. Wish me luck.