Monday, February 2, 2009

"Getting Real" Part 2: Inside Out

In Part 1 I wrote about getting back to basics when thinking about Social Media. That Social Media is a powerful ingredient to the overall business intelligence mix that an organization has at its fingertips - perhaps THE most powerful in that it allows connecting your internal organization to your customers in real time.

With the right tools at your disposal you can have access to a giant focus group of your employees, vendors, and customers right in their own "habitat." As mentioned, it will take major strategic, cultural, and operational changes within enterprises to accomplish.

This week I cover the following question: How can companies leverage social tools to communicate with, and ultimately energize internal teams? Check out the following video and see if it sounds familiar. Then read on.

In a Web 3.0 world this simply will not work. Companies must change in order to survive.

In the book Wikinomics, authors Tapscott and Williams say, "...with peer production we will harness human skill, ingenuity, and intelligence more efficiently and effectively than anything we have witnessed previously. Sounds like a tall order. But the collective knowledge, capability, and resources embodied within broad horizontal networks of participants can be mobilized to accomplish more than one firm acting alone."

Remember when corporate intranets were all the rage?

Intranets are a way to "push" messaging to employees all at once. What would happen if you turned to spigot on the other way and enabled technology to allow information to flow back to management where those on the ground can have a say and provide the most efficient form of R & D.

Imagine your company takes a collaborative approach with your employees - that there was a strategic and cultural acceptance that the best ideas bubble up rather than come down from above?

Do you think that would have broad reaching impact on morale, and would enable true engagement within the ranks of your organization?

What if you provided the tools, or better - a platform, for which employees can collaborate with each other, and ultimately with management?

Forums, blogs, and wikis, are all tools that can allow employees an open platform to share, collaborate, and provide input in building the ultimate brand.

In this scenario, only the best ideas would get worked on, saving companies millions in what have been wasted productivity. Consider the increased speed to market when only the best ideas get worked on. Companies should not turn a blind eye on the power of a built in community of internal social interactions. Rather they should embrace it in a broad, far reaching, integrated approach to building a better customer experience, and ultimately, a better brand.

I talked previously about how important it is to first have your employees connect with each other and then to your customers.

This is the model to build a brand from inside out.

After all, it's your organization's interaction with your customer, and their perception of you that ultimately matters. Your most valuable asset, your employees, is the very first place to start the process. Providing the tools (and using the information) for collaboration is key.

What do you think? Add a comment or post a thought.

Want to hear more about Wikinomics? Check out a ~10 minute interview with Wikinomics' Author Don Tapscott: