Often we hear business leaders ask about the value gained from all the social computing tools and activities. Many look at social web initiatives as marketing tools while others consider it a means of communicating with various stakeholders.
Socialutions looks at advanced social computing tools holistically as a means which facilitates operational improvements and breakthrough strategies across all elements of any business.
Every business has a set of common challenges that impact performance which includes both "soft" and "hard" issues requiring constant monitoring, leadership and management methods to achieve improvements. These include:
- Communication breakdowns
- Cultural barriers to facilitating improvement
- Increased demand to deliver higher value to customers
- Customer and employee retention and acquisition
- Lowering cost while increasing revenue
- Satisfying private and public market expectations
- Removing political barriers that inhibit progress
- Leveraging technology to improve performance
- Measuring and monitoring the vital few indicators of progress
- Anticipating and planning for the future while managing the results of the day
The solutions to these top ten challenges have to do with improvement of methods which need to translate into short and long term results. Business results are a measure of dollars gained or lost as the result of related actions or lack of appropriate actions. Many of the solutions to the top ten challenges are "soft" in that it is more about methods than it is about measuring hard numbers and short term results.
Historically anything having to do with people, culture, communications and satisfaction has been labeled as "soft". While managing financial results, regardless of actions or methods, has been considered "hard". The fact is counting or manipulating numbers is a lot easier than managing the "soft issues" that create the numbers.
The principals of these issues are true regardless of the size of a business, an institution or a global market. It is difficult for leaders, predominantly male leaders, to both admit and to effectively deal with the "soft issues" because the fundamental elements of the appropriate solutions are essentially socially oriented. Social in that solutions to the top ten challenges require the cooperation, collaboration, consensus and management of "people processes" Most businesses today suffer from social division, internally and externally, between people, purpose and progress.
Is It an Issue of Ethics?
Devin Stewart, Director, Global Policy Innovations, Carnegie Council writes: "From an ethics point of view, web 2.0 has the potential of dissolving the false divisions between peopleâ€"whether it is between nations and communities, producers and consumers, or labor and capital. With more ownershipâ€"both in influence and voting powerâ€"of the global economy, these divisions can fall away. "
"In the case of CSR, companies should consider the principles of sincerity, innovation, and pluralism (as Mikkel Sorensen and Nicolai Peitersen have argued in "CSR 2.0"). Companies can draw on the infinite wisdom out there (in publics). They have this great list of principles for CSR 2.0:"
1. Inclusiveness - involving stakeholders directly from beginning to end
2. Market driven - no longer expert driven
3. Innovation - smart companies turn market pressure into stakeholder led innovation
4. Sincerity - you can no longer uphold an image that is not real
5. Co-ownership - a truly embedded value-based culture requires involvement
6. Dynamics - standards and annual audits replaced by 24/7 engagement
7. Quality - CSR as immersive business strategy
8. Personal - It's about you, not your sector! What are your own ethics?
9. Pluralism - number and nature of CSR projects will expand dramatically
10. Proximity - local impact is global
"Megacommunities or multi-stakeholder initiatives become a reality with web 2.0, producing more sustainable solutions. Not only are the solutions drawing on more information but they also get more buy-in from increased participation. Web 2.0 has empowered civil society to do its job: producing social values and fostering the positive dynamic between companies and civil society."
Social values and ethics are usually considered one of those "soft issues" by most business leaders rarely tied to producing hard results. Social value and ethics encompasses right conduct and good results.
Socialutions is about adopting a management method that insures a business of worth to its stakeholders and a business that exceeds expected levels of satisfaction by people. The transparency of the web creates the accountability for business to produce real solutions for all stakeholders; spin is no longer sustainable as a solution. To obtain the traditional "measurable hard results a business must insure social solutions that address the "soft issues" which produces the real results.
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