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Social Media Celebrates the Best of Organization Development


Does social media have a place in business or is it a fad?

What should I learn about social media that is not a waste of time or might actually help me?

Should I find time for social media, does it acutally have anything to do with organizational development (organization development)?

A healthy work environment includes:

  • Involvement,

  • Communication,

  • Listening, and

  • Collaboration

telwin amajorc collaboration and social mediaSeems like a short list any organization develompent (OD) practitioner needs for successful interventions.

This is not a blog about strategically adding social media to your work or to your company, it is a look at striking similarities between social media and what we do in OD.

What does OD and social media have to do with each other?  Surprisingly, an awful lot, like: involvement, communication, listening, and collaboration.

If OD and social media have these in common, should a profession that relies on involvement, embrace social media?

In a profession that requires such deep communication, should embrace social media's ability to draw in dialogue?

In a profession so reliant on listening and taking the pulse of an organization, find social media a great way to check progress and monitor change?

In a profession where collaboration is vital to understanding is there suspicion that social media is someone's hidden agenda or coercion?

I worked for a decade [the 90s] in marketing, but for the past 10 years I've been an OD consultant and working on organization transformation, learning, leadership development, and strategic planning.

In 2007 I came upon social media with a marketing mindset, whoa, things had changed.  Instead of interruption or command and control marketing, social media, or Marketing 2.0, looks to contribute and collaborate.

The first rule in communication is, "know your audience".  So why communicate at your audience and not with your audience?

Some things that tie the two:

1)  Social media is about people and about interaction.

"Social media is an online imitationof the interactions that people have offline.To learn more about social media, learn more and study well how people interact offline in regards to the need your product provides a solution for.The more you examine and participate in offline communication, the more clearly you will be able to understand how to leverage social interaction and social media for your product or service."

2)  Social media is about people.  Employee-powered Change

"Unlike past technology shifts, this one isn’t being led by IT departments, but by individual employees like you and me and our need for meaningful and simple collaboration tools. With new enterprise social tools, we can harness the power of real-time social networking to rebuild the workplace and create a collaborative forum where we can be inspired by real-time engagement, real-time innovation, and the strengthening of our workplace communities. It’s a daunting challenge, but an exciting, much-needed one."

Every OD professional relies on communication and usually a change management communication plan as a critical copmonent for any intervention or transformation to succeed.

Social media is about collaboration.

Open Source Social Media:  Community, Collaboration, Freedom

" media is about the basic human right to communicate, organize, and maintain control of one's own experiences. And both address the needs of companies to do more at higher quality with less money. Both social media and open-source software involve communities and are fed by content: code in the case of open source, and media content in the case of social media.Whoever tries to control people's relationships will lose.

"Whoever enables people to create and share experiences that are relevant to them across any website, with anyone, the way they want will win."

Marketing communications has a natural affinity to effective change; after all marketing hopes to motivate action and change management, or OD, hopes to motivate action as well.

The aptly named Influential Marketing Blog's 5 Types of Consumer Generated Marketing Campaignstakes a look at the best user-generated [social media] campaigns across the following categories:

  1. What's your version of ... ?

  2. What if you were ... ?

  3. Submit your creative idea for ...

  4. Tell us ... and you could win

  5. Get funded to change the world

Each one of those questions could easily find itself a part of every OD practitioner's facilitation toolkit for involvment and change.  We all know that picturing yourself as part of the future-state is one of the sure fire ways to build commitment, understanding, and ownerhip.  Heck, imagine an organization change or development project without some variant of these and I'd expect a very high likliehood of failure.

Take a new look at how social media has prepared us for collaborative business and think again on what social media and OD do have in common.

I invite the opportunity to revisit social media to look at what social media affords collaboration.  This for us, as OD professionals, becomes an even more powerful organization transformation tool.

About the author:  Toby Elwin is part of MassBayODLG


Article speaks to a number of themes that should be a continuous feature in organizations. Communication and engagement should be more than buzz words.
Posted @ Sunday, June 23, 2013 7:08 AM by Suzette Henry Campbell
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