Louis Richardson 120000HRWE firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  social-business | 2 Comments | 1,548 Visits
If you're like me, you probably gravitate toward one of these roles. But to be successful, transforming a business requires this mix. For instance, your sales skills might persuade some to “buy” (get started), but you might not achieve the “roll-out” you expected. Problem: You haven't affected their behavior. You haven't answered the “Why?” question. Or perhaps you've been a good “evangelist” and you have the user community all worked up. Problem: Becoming a social business is largely a cultural issue, but there are important technical aspects and details that need to be addressed. If you haven't communicated with your “technicians”, it's likely your project will meet with hurdles and unnecessary push-back.
Take a look at your team. Who are the evangelists? Who are the technicians? And who are your sales people? If you're fortunate, you'll find them. But if you're like many social business leaders I've met, you may be alone or surrounded by people who all have the same skills. Gartner stated that more than 70% of social media initiatives lead by IT will fail. Is that because IT people can't manage projects? Of course not. It's because IT people tend to be “technicians” and may lack the “sales” or “evangelist” skills needed to affect the cultural change necessary for a social business transformation.
For most of my early career, I was a “technician”. I migrated to “sales” engineer and now I find myself doing a lot of “evangelist” work. And all along the way...including today, I still find blind spots...areas where I need to better understand my audience and better ways to communicate and share ideas.
I read a lot. And of all the books that I've read I wanted to share
the top 4 from my 2010 list.
“Start With Why” by Simon Sinek ------- (YouTube Video on this subject)
“Drive” by Daniel Pink ------- (YouTube Video on this subject)
“Where Good Ideas Come From” by Steven Johnson -------- (YouTube VIdeo on this subject)
“Switch” by Chip and Dan Heath -------- (YouTube Video on this subject)
Please comment on this posting if you have suggested reading that has helped you.
And here's to making 2011 a social new year!
Louis Richardson 120000HRWE email@example.com | | Tags:  competitive | 0 Comments | 1,575 Visits
What is a brood parasite and why should you care? If you haven't gone to Wikipedia by now, let me offer their description (paraphrased):
So what happens is this: a Cuckoo (yes it's a real bird and a brood parasite) will lay it's egg in the nest of another species of bird, let's say a reed warbler. The warbler will care for the egg as if it's one of it's own. The cuckoo has become quite adapt at matching it's egg to look like the warbler eggs. After hatching, the young cuckoo proceeds to get rid of all other suitors. It will push unhatched warbler eggs from the nest and those that do hatch don't stand a chance. The cuckoo is larger than the young warblers, so it demands all the attention of the parent. So much attention that the young warblers will die from starvation.
What is amazing is that this works so well. As the picture below shows, the foster parents don't even seem to realize they are raising a “monster”. The cuckoo is so large it often doesn't fit in the nest any longer and merely sits on top. The end story is that the cuckoo lives to repeat this, the warbler parent expends a tremendous amount of energy in the care and feeding of the cuckoo...at the expense of neglecting and killing off it's own young.
We think, “How can that happen?” Guess what? It's happening in companies every day.
A company has a project. It could be a “social business” or “enterprise content management” or “portal” or any of a dozen different specific and well deserving initiatives within their organization. To make these “company business focused” projects successful, they need focused attention and support. Project teams are organized, requirements are determined, it's clear what has to be done. The nest is made.
In comes a specific vendor stating, “We have an answer to whatever question you might have? It's looks just like a social business solution, or it appears to be an ECM system, it looks like a portal, it even looks like a development tool.” And then they add, “You probably already have this in your company.” And they lay their egg.
You look at their offering and from the outside it looks like a good egg. From their presentation it looks like what you're hoping to do. So you let it sit....and hatch. Before long you discover you need some additional licenses to really make this work. As it grows, you find out the demo you saw was highly customized and you're going to have to invest in a lot of services to make it work for your company situation. What's this? You need additional servers...and associated licenses for these boxes. And those old desktop operating systems will have to go if you want to leverage the latest capabilities...you know the ones you saw in the demo. You're now spending so much time in the care and feeding of this “monster” that other well deserved and needed projects are neglected and lost. And in many instances, you make this brood project work, but at what expense...and to whose benefit?
I know this sounds a bit harsh and I'm not normally this critical. But as I travel around and meet with executives and business leaders, I continue to hear stories about how companies are now discovering how much time and effort they've spent (and continue to spend) in the care and feeding of a system that never grew up to be what they expected it to be in the first place. They are staring at a "monster" that has consumed valuable time and money and it's still squawking for more. And if that's not enough, the damage goes beyond the one project.
I've talked with company executives and they've said, "I'm concerned about this social software stuff. It seems to be getting out of hand." When I inquire about what they mean, I find out it's one of these brood vendor's content offerings that's "popping up everywhere" and their IT department is spending a lot of time and effort just trying to "get it under control". It turns out that what they wanted was to become a social business and what they got was just another content-centric solution. And because it put itself off as a social solution and is failing, the company has formed a false concern about social software.
The great thing about serving at IBM is that we actually have specific answers to specific needs. We have industry leading ECM systems, we have market leading social software and portal solutions....and they work together to serve our customers. We appreciate and strive to work with existing applications and initiatives. It's not our goal to suffocate other projects or to make our customers use a single operating system or upgrade all their desktops to support our applications. We respect our hosts and support those around us...even some of the brood vendors.
But we're not opposed to fighting off parasites when we come across them. Let us know if you have one you'd like some help with.
Louis serves as a Social Business Executive for IBM and can be reached at Ric
Louis Richardson 120000HRWE firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  social-software social-business connections | 3 Comments | 2,097 Visits
Very few of us are probably aviators, but I bet everyone of us has what we would consider our "business cockpit". For many of us, it's our email application. For some it might be a CRM or ERP system, an authoring application or maybe a corporate intranet homepage. In any case, there is a place where we probably spend a good bit of our time and from which we conduct our business. In my role, I spend a lot of time collaborating with others...which includes communication and content. So my Lotus Notes application became a major "business cockpit". Every day I checked out my inst
I get dozens of emails a day asking questions or needing information. One such question was about the differences between Connections and Quickr (2 of our social solution products). Previously I would answer each question in email reply. When someone else asked the same question, I might search for my previous response and cut/paste the answer into a new email reply. Sound familiar? Well, this works...but with social software, I was able to lift my head up and look around. I was able to see that this was a common question...so I posted it (as a blog) in my internal IBM social network and pointed people to that response. Before long, one of my co-workers pointed out that our customers had the same question, so I reworked it and posted it (as a blog) on our external social network (this one...the collaboration soapbox). Within days, the entry was read hundreds of times. This is where "heads up" really comes into play. If I had addressed this with my head in the instruments (email, replies, etc.), (1) it would be unlikely that I would have been able to provide the answer to the volume of people with the question, (2) it would not have provided an answer to many who may have been troubled by the question, but didn't know who to ask (it got their heads up), and (3) nor would it have provided an "out of the cockpit" view of a real business need...the need to clarify product positioning.
The same "heads up" value comes from the fact that we don't just provide a social application, we make your applications social. So while you're in your CRM application, it can be socially aware. You can reach out (heads up) to people and provide credibility to information from within your application (cockpit instruments). The same goes for your email or authoring application or your company intranet.
People are the core to your business and being able to reach them, from within the context of your current business provides a "heads up" experience that results in real business value.
After thought: For those like me who have taught teenagers to drive, how important was it to make sure they didn't focus on the dashboard instruments, but instead insist they focus on what's around them and to use the instruments as a reference point? One reason automakers are beginning to incorporate heads up displays in new models.
Louis serves as a Worldwide Social Business Executive and can be reached at Ric