Mind the Gap: Turning Vision into Reality

Posted on July 7th 2008

MindtheGap Although social media and enterprise social networking is more commonly understood than it was even a year ago, there still exists an enormous gap between where the leading thinkers are and what large organizations can actually achieve in the short term.  This frustrates both the visionaries and those charged with actually implementing social media solutions in the enterprise. 

What's the solution?  Better understanding on both sides.  Going back to business fundamentals; You don't get something for nothing.  Communities that add value to business relationships take the time and effort that any good relationship takes - but multiplied geometrically. 

Visionaries often get frustrated at the pace of change but could be sobered by doing the hard work of building a sustainable, robust community. Those on the ground who often get drawn into all the operational hurdles could very well borrow some of the energy and passion of the visionaries.  It's difficult to walk both lines and maybe it means having two types of community managers - the tactical and the passionate.

Those of us in the industry also need to provide better frameworks, tactical examples, guidelines, templates, and tools that help leverage both the vision and the tactical needs of community building. This is starting to happen as more and more companies tell their stories and connect with each other online.  Here's to all of us who need to continue to really listen to each other so we can help narrow the gap.

Photo by: Grumbler %-|

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Rachel Happe

Founder, TheCR

Rachel has spent the last 15 years helping organizations implement emerging technologies to advance their business strategies. 

She understands how networked communications environments can transform how people work, their productivity and their personal satisfaction by aligning their passions, skills and relationships.

Rachel co-founded The Community Roundtable to support business leaders developing their community and social business strategies. Clients including SAP, Aetna, BASF, CA, H&R Block, and CSC benefit from Rachel’s ability to make sense of abstract trends and her ability to see the implications that technical and operational decisions can have on people and processes.

During her career Rachel has served in analyst, product management, product marketing and executive roles. Find out more or connect on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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Posted on July 8th 2008 at 7:36AM
Well said Rachel.


Yesterday I had yet my fourth conversations with executive #5 in a Fortune 500 company who was still hung up on all this social stuff.  His remarks included:

We're still trying to figure out how we make money from social media initiatives.

My response: Do you charge for customer service.  He said why of course not. I said, yes you do and the cost are built into your product.  Worse of all your customer service is terrible and your paying for it through a bad reputation and customer turnover.  So my question to you is "how do you make money on customer service?  You reduce its cost by building good relations and solving problems openly and honestly.  It cost ten times more to get a new customer than it does to retain them.  Engage in a relationship, give the customer tools to solve their own problems, get out of the way of excellent customer service.  Get it?

 His response was: I see your points but not sure how we would implement something so totally different than what we've been doing.

My response: the first thing I would suggest is stop what your doing.  It isn't working and only making things worse

All this social stuff is a mind wreck for the traditional business mindset.  For some the wreck has yet to happen but will eventually.