Key driver for success: Aligning E20 initiatives with business challenges & goals!

In addition to yesterday’s post on the challenges that E20/Social Business projects are facing at the moment I have collected some opinions of experts that are participating in next week’s E20 SUMMIT.

Anna van Wassenaer, Partner, Favela Fabric

1) What are the key strategic challenges for social business initiatives?

  • Getting top management to adopt it as a business tool
  • Making it relevant for the core business
  • Orchestrating success rather than waiting for something to happen

2) What is your key recommendation for succeeding with the social technology adoption?

  • Don’t just dump social technology in the company but prepare for launch
  • Integrate with existing strategic projects
  • Be flexible and persistent: keep on learning and improving

3) What actions should be considered to support the transformative process that is emerging out of the E20 initiative?

  • Create business cases with concrete KPIs
  • Highlight transformative impact of social collaboration on the way we do business
  • Accentuate human and business opportunities of this new way of working

Lee Bryant, Co-Founder, Headshift

1) What are the key strategic challenges for social business initiatives?

The first is still strategic alignment with business goals. Beyond that, I would say the relationship between key internal functions such as IT, Communications, HR and Operations is crucial for any major change initiative based on social business thinking, so having these stakeholders in the room and part of the project is very important indeed. Once these organisational design challenges are addressed, and you have a strategy that aligns with business goals, picking the right success measures and data to track is quite important as most social business initiatives will have a range of different goals, from short-term measurable improvements in performance through to less measurable cultural change within the organisation. Defining what success looks like for your organisation is a vital step, and progress must be tracked in close to real-time in order to identify and amplify benefits and deal quickly with challenges.

2) What is your key recommendation for succeeding with the social technology adoption?

Focus on individual value propositions, and never assume that people will change their behaviour just because it seems logical for them to do so. Having a laser focus on individual benefits is still the best way to achieve collective benefit for the organisation, but beyond the identification of key uses cases and individual benefits, the test of a good adoption strategy is to what extent it can use networked influence and ‘nudges’ to gradually expose more people to new ways of working that their colleagues are already using. The power of watching and imitating colleagues’ behaviour is greater than that of top-down communications in a traditional change management program.

3) What actions should be considered to support the transformative process that is emerging out of the E20 initiative?

One challenge is how to deal with emergent behaviours and norms that challenge the existing hierarchy and processes. Ideally, these should be interwoven with the existing fabric of the organisation rather than replacing it, which if done well can achieve a happy medium between new and old structures. There are several key central functions that can assist with the emergent transformation. One is a strong community management function. Another is a process review group that can identify overly bureaucratic or broken internal processes than can be better fulfilled using social business methods, and be ready to assist in re-factoring these areas of business process to become more connected and more efficient.

Anthony Poncier, EMEA Social Business Director, MSLGROUP

1) What are the key strategic challenges for social business initiatives?

  • Demonstrate that these Social Business initiatives are a response to the challenges which are facing the companies.
  • Put over that it’s a long-term transformation work for the organization (infrastructure, structure, culture).
  • Show that the journey is as important as the purpose.

2) What is your key recommendation for succeeding with the social technology adoption?

  • Get a communication that makes them want to discover and use it: a manual as well as it is made, does not tempt.
  • Show by simple examples of the daily work, its contribution compared to existing tools.

3) What actions should be considered to support the transformative process that is emerging out of the E20 initiative?

  • Strengthen the engagement of the management (top and middle) to make them allies instead of neutral agents or opponents.
  • Stop believing that the employees wish to change. First they have to want, then know and be able to. You have to go with them on this path. All the stages are essential.
  • If this transformation is only good for the enterprise, and not the employees, you’ll fail, because engagement is one of the corner stone of these initiatives.