Our Networked Intelligence
Being networked and understanding your market, employees, competitors and the changes and dynamics of these systems is now vital to running a business. The case studies abound with good and bad case studies of how effectively people use social technologies. What is interesting though is being networked affects value and is being tracked by stock exchanges and affects share price.
Why? well you only have to recognise how lack of understanding about social media and lack of reputation management have impacted some organisations – United Airlines , Goldman Sachs , Toyota. PR has always been there, but now it is the difference between a camp-fire gone wrong and a bush fire. Here we learn the lesson of compassion that connects brands to customers and that of values (e.g. sincerity in facing issues and addressing these head-on). The ethos for the customer has to be true for the people within though doesn’t it?
Change at any level is not easy; however understanding your own network of people can help facilitate change. If you know your key internal influencers and can enrol their support during change, involve them, garner feedback from them; then you are recognising the network intelligence of your own organisation.
Moreover you are more likely to harness your network and succeed in your change programme. If you then take this further and embrace the fundamental collaboration that social technologies enable you are lighting the toch paper of creativity. Context and Relevance Your People are your brand.
Employees need to feel part of the brand and understand its purpose - the Why, and their context within this. This is the relevance of sustainability and differentiation and enlists them to a cause. With new systems that give employees the ability to vote on managers e.g. Cubeduel and Honestly.com.
Understanding people and developing open communication channels builds trust between customers & people and it is these people that are at the heart of the business that deliver the brand experience. Social Media helps validate brand values. Each person is a network (the neural network which exists in their brain), part of a human network (swarm theory), which is itself part of networked ecosystem of our world.
These patterns of connectivity resemble the web, but they are also models of behaviour reflecting the need to be adaptive and agile; a philiosophy needed at both an organisational and individual level. A network that collects information about its environment and adapts survives.
The transition to a more social business provides opportunities for creativity, collaboration and exploration; a way to redefine the organization and its relevance to its customers. Harnessing the energies of people internally can facilitate a change in the brand from being isolated from its customers to being involved.
How? Think of businesses that like BestBuy, Zappos and even the maverick business of Semco led by Ricardo Semler. Semler transformed a fairly old stodgy business with over 3,000 employees into a place where everyone knows what everyone else earns, cleaners can book a spot in the next board meeting, and there are no secretaries.
Why? because as organizations listen, they learn and by learning they can change what they do at the same time developing relationships with customers. Social technologies and tools now provide research capabilities on a scale and to a level not known before. Data can be gathered that has behavioural context, influence and relational context as well as well as demographic and personal details. Organisations using this rich seam of data can decide upon customer engagement strategies that deliver experiences and so we move brands into an experience economy where customers freely engage with the brand based on the value it delivers. But this engine of marketing is flawed if not reinforced by employees who are engaged as well.
Change is about people as well as technology
Many organizations are focusing on the need for integration of new technologies. Embracing change involves guiding the business through a process of dismantling the legacy systems. But it is how it manages the process of transitioning skills and processes and developing its people that underpins success. This transformations present the time to create the future of an innovative and open culture.
Strategic decisions on how to align value from new business models, transition from existing, develop a strategic path, choose the appropriate technology and vendors, underpin resources to use and seed change through pilot projects and scalable technologies….success factors and costs associated are often on the speed of change and how effectively the technologies are used.
So what does this mean for an organization
As organizations devolve decision making and become more transparent and open; engaging employees and harnessing their capacity for innovation are vital. People are not only critical resources within an organization, they are the organization. Companies need to understand that they have a broader role to play in working with customers to solve problems and innovate. Moreover, those companies that recognise they have a defined purpose and deliver recognizable value will benefit by becoming preferred choices by customers.
The increasing pace of change is at least in part being driven by Social Media. Change is accelerating: technology is converging creating new business models whilst media is creating evermore fragmented markets. The dynamic for most companies has and will in the future be about identifying value and attracting customers through experiences.
There is a momentum of change, a spirit of embracing new ideas and of collaborating to work solve problems, to learn together, to make changes together. At TribalCafe we are looking at ways we can help others move forward, make viable changes within businesses to seed and propagate innovation. We do this through people and technology. We help organisations integrate the people into the technology – provide training, help develop their understanding as we implement projects. How do you think organisations will change – to a social business.