Today, Sept 13 2013, I was invited as a panelist to share my thoughts on Power Hour – My Social Business Journey in IBM along with 2 other IBMers, Rama Nedungadi, Senior Manager – Communications and Hema Shah, Director GTS SD – Application Hosting, Data Management and Storage (ADS), moderated by Manoj Palaniswamy Vasanthakumar, India SME – Email and Collaboration, L2 Certified IT Specialist, at Regional Technical Exchange (RTE) 2013 and I would love to share my reflections. The event ran in 30 locations across the growth markets and was intended to reach out to 4,000 technical community colleagues, and this year’s theme was all about driving the innovation agenda and delivering a distinctive client experience.
It was evident that the topic was an interesting one for the technical leaders as there were hardly any chairs unoccupied, which goes to show how much being social means to IBM technical leaders and that we are still not there yet.
I am listing down some of the key themes which came out of the panel discussions:
How should I begin being social?
The answer lies with us, in our minds. We need to change our point of view to understand the capacities social can provide and how we can use those to become more productive and efficient at work. Being social is a philosophy and not a race to be on the top of some silly leaderboard.
What is the best way to promote social? Top-down or bottoms-up?
Did we miss inside out and outside in? Well there is no right or wrong here. We need to understand the rationale to use it and need to understand the impact before we even try using it. Hema pointed out how she is using Whatsapp to connect with her family across the world. Who suggested her Whatsapp is not as important as the fact that she was told the benefits of using it. We see people struggle to adopt/adapt social as more often than not they feel it is an ‘extra’ work for them.
How do we get Executives (Top Leaders) to adopt social?
Well, I find this question really amusing. It is akin to asking, “How do you teach the teachers to teach?” Aren’t our leaders supposed to lead us? Well, in an ideal scenario, not always. Reverse mentoring (assigning a social advocate to mentor Executives) is one of the effective ways of doing it. The social advocacy dies if the leader is still not receptive. Remember, you can take a horse to the water but… . The most difficult change is when it comes to changing ourselves, our behaviors and that is exactly what social asks you to. The intrinsic motivation need so exist for anyone to adopt social. Sometimes gentle nudges are needed to form our behaviors. Hence setting up their time, 5 minutes a day, to spend on social has worked for Rama with her Executive
How do encourage shy/introverts to be active on social?
This apprehension is a paradox as social allows people to be away from people and yet share their point of views. Who ever thought that every IBM would have the capability to respond to our CEO , publicly. But we do, using our internal social media platform, Connections, which Ginni Rometty, IBM Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer uses to interact with all IBMers! Every IBM, no matter where in hierarchical chain or geography can reach out and share their thoughts. People need to ‘stop talking and start doing’.
Is Social really helpful?
Social has already had a spectacular impact on how business is done; for example, the shift away from traditional career websites like Monster.com to LinkedIn as a new channel for corporate recruiting. 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations. In corporate recruitment, social referrals translate into highest quality source of hire (1 hire per 10.3 candidates) (Comscore Datamine Study, Feb. ‘12 )
The evolution has begun and it is not late for us to realize the potential and harness the advantage. Organizations like IBM are leading the way and as IBMers, we are in an advantageous position to take the best out of it. So begin your journey and bring your #socialglamor to the surface.
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