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This piece was brought to my attention by Bruce Kneuer via Twitter. I appreciate your thoughtful exposition and recommendations. You nicely summarize the ways in which various applications of social media are converging to create opportunities for organizational leaders to think about and approach the implementation and implications of new digital technologies more strategically and holistically. I’ve been thinking a lot about the cultural issues connected with social media, and the oft-repeated idea that organizations have to place a high value on their employees (and related ideas of empowerment and engagement and trust) for social media initiatives to be successful. Not only do I wonder if that kind of orientation is necessary, I think emphasizing it can be self-defeating for social media advocates. First there’s the issue of resistance from organizational leaders who will find ideas like this threatening and/or too touchy-feely and will reject social media as so much silly fluff. But even in a hierarchical, command-and-control culture, leveraging these technologies can produce tremendous benefits in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. It’s also possible that implementing the technologies can lead to changes in the culture as people see their value in achieving goals and objectives. Although human capital values are important to social media success, I personally prefer to lead with performance values, which most organizational leaders are unlikely to be able to resist. Convincing leaders of social media’s value in increasing revenues and/or decreasing expenses can lead them to make it the strategic priority it needs to be. And at the end of the day, no matter how egalitarian an organization is, the ultimate determination of success is likely to be leadership support. Courtney Hunt Founder, Social Media in Organizations (SMinOrgs) Community
This post was shared with the Social Media in Organizations (SMinOrgs) Community by Bruce Kneuer. I'm glad to see you so fired up and inspired, Josh! When I founded the SMinOrgs Community 18 months ago, it was originally called Social Media in HR (then Social Media and HR), because of the important role I thought HR would play in leveraging social media technologies. The name changed over time to better reflect the community's cross-functional focus, but that doesn't diminish the importance of HR's role. In fact, a human capital perspective still dominates most of the conversations. Speaking of cliches, social media presents a tremendous opportunity for HR professionals to finally "get a seat at the table" and be "strategic business partners." Unfortunately, that promise has not begun to be realized, for a number of reasons, several of which have been noted by other commenters. Most of the HR folks I interact with are not engaged with social media themselves, and they're only slowly starting to consider the possibilities and wade in. And with plates full of urgent tactical priorities, they don't have the capacity to educate themselves and figure out the best way to proceed. It's great to get the profession fired up, but they need to be able to act once inspired. From my perspective the key to paving the way for HR folks to assume the leadership role they should have as their organizations move forward with social media is to educate their bosses (many of whom know less than they do about social media) and help them realize why it should be a strategic priority and how they need to allocate resources (mostly human capital) to explore and pursue the possibilities. I've been developing a Social Media Primer targeted to organizational leaders through the SMinOrgs S.M.A.R.T. Blog to serve this very purpose. If we can successfully influence organizational leaders to provide the necessary support and direction, then we can see if HR pro's have what it takes to step up and lead. Courtney Hunt Founder, SMinOrgs Community PS - I really love the first cartoon. Where did you get it, and how can I get access to it? PPS - I was somewhat disappointed by the lack of social media progress by the vendors and service providers at the HRTech Conference. Many of the ones I chatted with have still not done much to integrate 2.0 technologies into their offerings, and several didn't even know what I meant when I asked them the question. I'm curious to know if that was your experience as well.
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Oct 4, 2010