3 Lessons Learned from Social Business Adoption Projects

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Using a structured adoption approach is one way to give your social business project the best chances of success. What’s often not discussed in such frameworks are some of the more down-to-earth issues that come up when rubber hits the road. In this blog post I want to explore three key areas you should consider while rolling out your social collaboration solution:

Your Early Adopters are Super Heroes

If you choose to have early adopters – and I strongly encourage you to do so, you need to recognise that they are the super heroes of your project. They are the ones whose strength you will rely on to be successful. They will be the ones fighting, ahem, evil and keeping right on their side. So you need consider what they need in order to be successful. Like Spiderman needs his webs, in my experience your Early Adopters need:

Trust that you will support them Your attention and presence where they are. Coaching, calls, meetings, one-to-ones.
Belief that this is worth their reputation & time Buy-in from their manager and their senior management.

A feeling of belonging to a team.

Mutual support structures

An understanding of what is expected of them A clear vision, endorsed by senior management. A plan of execution and ramp-up plan
Time to play and learn from you Homework exercises, fun examples, time from management to experiment.
A purpose Find examples of how Social can help them do their job – without it they won’t believe.
Quick support from you Lack of support undermines their confidence. Lack of belief in the project or enterprise will erode the benefits.
An opportunity to shape future events. Their feedback and knowledge is the key to your success – make the future progress of your project consultative.

Feeding these needs gives them the strength to take the collaboration solution and grow it for you. In my experience, the Power of Six works well here – six people are a close-knit team that you can devote your experience and efforts to:

Your Core Team

If you train them well, and attend to their needs, your growth increases by the power of six:

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Go After Low-Hanging Fruit

I would strongly recommend not mixing your social business adoption project with a business process re-engineering project. The latter is risky, complicated, and, unless clearly required, often something best left alone. Your social business implementation can greatly improve the situation in your organisation when it comes to communication and collaboration. Knowledge sharing, innovation and a spirit of sharing a common goal are the key results when calculating the return on investment from social. Thus, look to start with implementing social technologies in areas where everyone has a problem, such as:

Dealing with many of these common areas of work allows you to start small and scale the solution. It brings standardisation of relatively simple processes where no standardisation might previously exist (complex procedures, and ones to be avoided at the beginning, are rarely ad-hoc). Thus, you can demonstrate the success of your social business implementation by going after areas which will make the biggest impact to the largest number of people. In the list above I have provided links to some excellent articles by thought leaders in these areas to help you find out more.

Consider encouraging the existing social aspects of your organisation to use the new environment. The wine club, the running club, whatever. Getting people using the system because one of their interests is hosted there is a great way of driving engagement. After all, no-one gets trained on using Facebook or eBay, but people use them because they have content they are interested in. Like it or not, people will use something straight away which contains something they are personally interested in before using something you ask them to use as part of their job.

Plan for a Marathon – Not a Sprint

Deploying a social business solution brings enormous return on investment. Appreciate, however, that it rarely comes as quickly as you either expected or hoped. Therefore you need to recognise that you will be in for a long run which requires lots of energy. In my experience implementing a social business solution is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration.

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All I am saying here is that you should not expect to train six people and then magically the system will grow virally and your job will be over. My point here is that you need to find a team you can trust and grow but recognise that while it is growing, and often after its accepted as a part of the working environment, your social business solution will need continuing energy to stay healthy.

So how do you do this? I propose the following marathon-busting plan:

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Over the coming weeks I will look at each of these parts of the plan in more depth.

I hope you have enjoyed this brief lessons-learned summary and hope you join me on our marathon in the coming weeks.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Alan Hamilton
I believe social business is a new way for organizations of all sizes to form stronger working relationships within themselves and with their customers and partners. By demonstrating how any organization can become more open, responsible, compassionate and flexible I can show that staff and customer satisfaction increases, morale improves and better business results come.

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