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There is no such thing as 5-10-15 steps to becoming a social business

At least not in the same context as many portraying it today. And while it makes for a great Mashable-like headline that can potentially generate mass amounts of clicks, shares and comments, the truth of the matter is that social business transformation is very complex and completely different in every organization. It takes more than a blog post, a book, a few tweets and/or quoted in Forbes to even begin to scratch the surface.

Behavior change, technology adoption, organizational maturity, quality improvement and other factors that make up business climate does not, cannot and will not happen over night. As often as we talk/blog/tweet about the need for organizations to be more social internally “in order to create shared value with all stakeholders”, it’s an evolutionary process. And, sometimes it’s cyclical as the revolving door of senior leadership bounce in and out of an organization.

Case in point, from a technology perspective.

Most would be amazed to know that even what we think might be the smallest of tasks – like migrating an entire company to a new email exchange server – can take 18 to 24 months at a minimum. And what’s interesting to point out is that social media technology can be changed/implemented, manipulated or coded differently and on the fly. All you need is a team of over-the-top smart engineers on the job 24/7. Behavior change not so much, especially if leadership (as a trait) is non-existent. Change management, as it relates to social business transformation requires business leaders to actually “change” their behavior first, not just give lip service to the organization. It’s extremely complex and the truth is that business is not as fast as we expect them to be.

For several decades now, there have been books, white papers, dissertations, research studies, articles written and now blog posts, tweets and videos that attempt to explain the ever so complicated dynamics of business – organizational structures and design, cultural norms, leadership, change management, overcoming fear, technology, etc. And certainly there is a lesson to be learned from each one.

There are frameworks, models, ideas and best practices that are simple to explain and understand theoretically. And, many times there is intelligent learning from these that can be extracted, changed up and implemented into another organization. That’s usually how it works in just about every industry.

But there isn’t just “one” process or “5 steps” of magic sauce that will solve the problem(s) for every organization. And if anyone tells you something different, they are probably trying to sell you something.


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