We've also interviewed business executives charged with developing strategies to use the social web for strategic advantages aimed around marketing, sales and branding. To date our conclusion is a sad one. With exception of a few the majority of corporations simply don't get it!
What they don't get
Corporations have a common problem in their thinking. The problem is not listening to their employees or their customers. The history of communicating within the corporate world has been designed around doing things right vs. doing the right things.
Saying and doing things right has become an art of "corporate speak" driven by cultures of fear, politics and a mentality that the boss knows better than the people so don't offend him/her by having original thought on matters of importance. Over the years the environments of business have taught the people to simply follow even when they know a better way or have opinions or facts that suggest another way is better.
These type environments are not uncommon and if you talk to employees around the water cooler you get more than enough evidence of "my boss just doesn't listen or care to hear my opinion". Be honest, is this not the prevailing cultural norms within organizations globally?
Here comes the social web
The social web provides many valuable attributes that businesses can use to accomplish specific strategies and objectives. Business adoption of the social web tools is gaining traction within numerous industries. There even seems to be a rush to understand the medium and how to use it to gain strategic advantages that fuel economic gains, both short and long term. However, the same mentality and cultures that have prevailed for years are the primary constraints to effectively using the social web for business gains.
In the 80's and 90's corporations around the globe were introduced to the Quality Movement and many, even today, claim to have adopted it as an overriding business philosophy. Many still claim today to be committed to quality and evidence of customer, employee and process feedback loops abound. However, unless there is open and honest communications between employees, customers and supplier, no business will reach the level of "quality" it aims to achieve and the process usually ends up being abandoned and labeled yet another business fad.
The primary constraint to achieving maximum quality in any organization is cultural barriers that impede honest and open relations with people, processes and things. The same constrain will rob the business potential of the social web and those that remove these constrains will win.
Do you get it yet?
Many parents cannot relate to the thinking, lifestyle and mindset of their children. The MySpace generation is and continues to totally reject "corporate speak and cultures" and has swarmed together forming a wave of change that many businesses are chasing with traditional methods.
In order to truly tap into the power of the social web business must understand that it is not a thing rather it is a movement driven by empowerment and freedom of expression. Some adults, no many adults, have come to recognize its power and are using the social web personally and recognizing the power the medium offers, evidence abounds.
The social web is not abound slick marketing, corporate speak or networking as a "thing" rather it is all about conversations that develop and build relationships. It is about listening, giving, sharing and connecting with your employees, customers, suppliers who by the way are people and not things.
A transformation of thinking is required to effectively realize the true power of the social web. The transformation starts individually then moves to connections with millions who "get it".
What say you?