Before we move further on in trying to address the final conclusions I shared on a recent blog post under the heading Social Business in 2013 – A Challenge, I thought I would go ahead commenting further first on that third piece from that recent CMSWire article that I published earlier on, where I talked about perhaps one of the most important, key concepts for Social Business to thrive in 2013 and beyond: A Commitment. More than anything else, because over the course of the last few months, perhaps couple of years, I have seen very little of it, as I have blogged about a couple of times in articles like Why Social Business Keeps Failing to Deliver or Dear Social Business Evangelist, Where Art Thou? and somehow it’s starting to bring back memories of the same trip that Knowledge Management went through back in the day. About 15 to 18 years ago. Yes, the buzz is there, the hype, too! The selling and marketing of it, but when you are talking about making a commitment, that is, raising the stakes to provoke that profound business transformation we all know it’s fully capable of (about how to make it work), it’s nowhere to be seen. And that’s worrying. Very worrying.
Perhaps we could go ahead and illustrate it with a cartoon from Tom Fishburne (Please do go ahead and read his blog post on the topic, too! It will be worth while a read!) that I am sure you would all agree with me that it would make the point incredibly well. If not, judge for yourselves on what I mean with that keyword of Commitment (With a capital C) and the lack of it in today’s current Social Business landscape:
Just brilliant, don’t you think? I can imagine that at this point in time plenty of you folks out there would be musing about the fact that you may know plenty of firms who would fall under any of those various different strategies except perhaps for the “All too rare” that Tom mentions and that I feel is why we need to raise the stakes on not only what Social Business could do, but what it would eventually need to do! And not just with that flavour of a focus on delighting customers, but with employees and knowledge workers alike! Think about it. When was the last time that you helped your fellow colleague(s) to be more awesome, become smarter than you are at what you do… without asking anything in return? See what I mean?
There are big key words in here at play in this so-called social business transformation that very few people, specially, vendors, have put into practice and perhaps that’s something that we can help them understand when talking about commitment. Concepts like empathy, equity, meritocracy, transparency, openness, authenticity, trust, engagement, participation, constructive feedback / criticism and so forth are still very much missing from vast majority of Social Business vendors out there. And I suspect that customers, whether internal or external, are just about to become really fed up with all of that NOT walking the talk from all of those social business vendors that in most cases are showing how full they are of themselves in any which way and nothing else. Very little substance coming along due to that lack of establishing some serious commitment behind their words on helping their own customers be more awesome.
In that CMSWire article I got published by the end of last year I described it in these terms. To quote:
“And finally, here we are with the commitment. In the quest for most brands to become more open, trustworthy, honest, transparent, interconnected, smarter and authentic, in other words, more engaging with their own customers AND employees, provide better quality service, better products, better customer service, and so forth, in 2013 we are going to see how vendors (and not just for Social Businesses, but everyone who may well be in Sales) are going to make that giant leap of faith and start walking the talk more often.
In the world of Social, 2013 is going to accelerate the transformation of vendors talking one thing and doing a completely different other. It’s no longer going to work that way. Rather the opposite. Businesses, mainly through learning by doing, will be called upon by their customers and especially their very own employees, on the main reasons why they are not walking the talk. Why they are not provoking their own business transformation through social networking when they may well be big advocates themselves of the change?
We are going to witness how trust is going to become more critical than ever, not from the perspective of how you can gain my / our / their trust, but more how you can keep it alive and kicking every single day of the year by starting to put your actions behind your words. Because if you don’t manage to make that happen in an effective and engaging manner, I suspect both customers AND employees will move on.
Brands and businesses will be striving for authenticity, for uniqueness, for what makes them special, [essential] against everyone else. Customers and employees will be striving to belong to those brands and businesses whose commitment is one of wanting to transform themselves into the next generation of how we get work done in the 21st century: sustainable growth.”
That’s the Commitment (with the Capital C) that we are about to see unfold and unleash, both inside and outside of the firewall for most businesses out there. Of particular interest, I would think, would be the bold text highlighting the emphasis on walking the talk, on learning by doing, because we are starting to see, if not already, how businesses who bought into the idea of becoming a Social Business by purchasing some [Perhaps (too) expensive] social software a year or two ago are starting to wonder about what next, because, amongst several other things, it’s just not working! Remember how 70% of the corporate world knowledge workforce is totally disengaged? Or how 7 out of 10 Enterprise 2.0 deployments will fail, according to some piece of research that was conducted last year? Knowledge Management anyone? This is, indeed, when those social business vendors would need to stand out AND deliver. Put their actions behind their words. The smooth talk is way over by now! Not just for their customers, but also for their own employees. Only then will we be capable of talking about Socially Integrated Enterprises thriving to help you become *even* more awesome.
The rest is just a waste of time. And we all know life is just too short to keep wasting along those precious moments, so I would suggest keep pushing not just for your / our customers, but, essentially for *all* of us. We cannot longer afford statements like Social Business / Enterprise 2.0 has been here for over 6 years and we still have yet to witness that true, rather profound, social transformation of today’s corporate world to become tomorrow’s social workplace.
If you have been reading this blog for a little while now, you would know how one of the various different things that I keep trying to do, but fail miserably, struggling all along, is to embark myself into writing over here relatively shorter blog posts versus the rather lengthy essays that seem to have been more of the norm all along. Don’t take me wrong. Somehow the vast majority of you folks seem to enjoy those lengthy articles quite a bit, since blog traffic tripled throughout 2012 from previous years, but I am starting to think that it wouldn’t hurt to have little snacks every now and then, while we are all on the move, about interesting things that are happening out there, or relevant links worth while sharing across with an annotation or two, or just simply, reflect about a crazy new idea, a new thought, a new interesting initiative that may have caught my attention, etc. with just a few words to then develop it further along as time moves on and things settle down a bit. Well, here’s my zillionth attempt into aiming for shorter blog posts. Will it blend this time around?
I am not sure whether it will stick around, or not, but I guess it’s worth while trying it out, once again, don’t you think?, and see how it goes… Now, I am not thinking about stopping writing lengthier blog entries, at least, not for the time being. I am thinking more along the lines of combining both longer pieces with shorter bites of things that may have caught my attention and that I would want to perhaps develop further along on it at a later time. Or if it has got to do with something related to Productivity and how we can improve, collectively, our overall sense of Effectiveness as knowledge Web workers, by all means, I am going to give it a try and experiment with this new form of combining both shorter and longer articles to help perhaps make the blog a bit more dynamic. That’s maybe the reason why it took me so long to come back to this blog in the first place. The fact that I kept aiming for longer pieces where I needed to reflect perhaps more than I should. So maybe I can prepare now for those crazy busy times ahead of me (As I am entering my last week of vacation) when time will be scarce but ideas plenty and I would need to have a place to air them out, so I don’t forget about them for when things may slow down and I can pick them up again.
So what a better way of kicking off these shorter blog posts than sharing a link to a rather interesting YouTube video that I bumped into a few weeks back and which I think would be incredibly helpful for those people who, like me, do plenty of public speaking and could do with a few tips on creating slides people will remember. That’s, indeed, the suggestive and rather intriguing topic that Nancy Duarte talked about on this video presentation that I can certainly recommend everyone to go through, since it’s just a bit over 2 minutes long, but pretty packed up with some excellent tips that I thought I would briefly quote over here, as a teaser, to get you all going:
- “Use Slides Selectively
- Write the slides after you have prepared the speech
- Design slides people can “get” in 3 seconds
- Storyboard one concept per slide
- Remember that slides are a visual medium”
Here is the direct link to the video, in case you may not be able to play it through the embedded version below:
I guess if this year we are, finally, at long last!, declaring war to PowerPoint and presentations in general, Nancy just shared across with all of us a nice, smart, succinct, knowledgeable manner of doing it without dying in the attempt, don’t you think? I particularly love item #1 which is why during the course of 2013 I’ll keep aiming to reduce tremendously my dependency on visuals and focus more on the power of the word, of emotion, of passion, essentially, on what drives me to do what I do and what I care about: having a good conversation where I can learn just as much as the audience does, if not more! That’s what presentations are all about. The rest are just master classes.
All along, and ever since I started making use of Google Plus, over a year ago, I have been saying time and time again how, to me, it is probably one of the most powerful Social Networking Sites available out there on the Social Web, allowing us all, knowledge Web workers, not only to live social, but also to get work done, never mind the huge amount of deeper conversations one can certainly host over the course of time and that we are starting to see more and more by the day now that a whole bunch of people are starting to realise the huge potential versus other social networking tools. The combination of multiple levels of interaction from a same single user interface is a killer. Public vs. private vs. dedicated interactions – through circles -, offline social networking through text, real-time with IM, videoconferencing with Plus Hangouts, one of my favourite features, without a doubt!, broadcasting events through Hangout On Air, a phenomenal mobile experience with stunning iOS Apps for both iPhone and iPad, etc. etc. are just a few of the capabilities that have made Google Plus escalate to number #2 position for yours truly of social technologies to enjoy nowadays. And I suppose I’m not the only one thinking along those terms.
But I’m now wondering whether we may all have an opportunity to up the game for Google Plus and try to prove what’s really made of. Take it to the next level. Show and demonstrate how it can take productivity and effectiveness into new heights and how it can help you build your online reputation like no other social networking site may have done in the past, perhaps with the well known exception of your own personal business blog, as I have blogged about it in the past. Well, here’s what I am doing to level up Google Plus then for myself…
I have always been fascinated by the whole concept of narrating my work, working out loud and observable work (a.k.a. #owork). I have blogged about them in the past already a few times and it never ceases to amaze me the huge impact each and everyone of them have been having in helping transform the corporate world as we know it, within the larger context of Social Business. Once again, nothing to do really with technology, but more with attitude (One of my favourite key terms when talking about corporate culture as of late. Isn’t it everything about attitude and what we do about it?), with that shifting of gears, of mindsets, of human behaviours, where knowledge workers become more open and transparent about their own workload, strongly believing that by doing that not only are they helping themselves to become more effective and productive by raising their visibility by demonstrating their subject matter expertise, but also helping others excel at what they are good at, along with helping their organisations build a huge amount of information and knowledge flows freely available to everyone, where before they were all trapped in a good number of corporate silos, regardless of the current excuse du jour.
Well, in that context of narrating your work, working out loud, I keep getting asked by folks outside of the firewall what it is that I do for work eventually inside IBM as a Social Computing Evangelist. And all along I have been trying to do my best in describing what I have been up to and what it is that I try to achieve at the end of the day. However, all along it’s been a bit of a challenge on its own, because in the vast majority of cases despite my eagerness to try to become more transparent and open on what I do to folks outside the firewall, external social technologies still keep presenting a good number of challenges: Twitter with the silly 140 characters limitation, amongst several others; LinkedIn because of the hugely aggressive Terms of Service which still continue to be a complete turn-off for yours truly; Facebook not much anymore since I deleted my account over 2 years ago and haven’t had a need to return back to it just yet (Doubt I ever will, since it’s kept that personal use flavour ever since I left it); Slideshare because of how heavy centric it is on presentation materials and a bit too tough when I no longer do them for public speaking; and a whole bunch of other starting social networking sites that bring forward lots of promise, but that they then end up being acquired by other major players and there goes all of the excitement.
Till we then bump into Google Plus itself, indeed! And that’s where it clicked for me a little while ago now, because the limitations from other social networking sites are just not there. Quite the opposite. It’s got that unique opportunity to explore it for a good number of use cases from your day to day work and eventually see which one would stick out the most. I have got to admit that for a good number of weeks I struggled to keep up with it, having long periods of silence or sudden bursts that even me, I thought, were a bit too much over the top. All induced, perhaps, by some of the habits I have built up already over the course of years from several other social networking sites. But once I learned to build a new set of habits for my use of Google Plus things have finally clicked. And all thanks to a one single key concept that we all seem to be taking for granted, perhaps far too often, but that’s is critical to any good social networking behaviour: engagement.
Yes, in Google Plus I no longer get to post as frequent as I perhaps do in Twitter. I’m lucky if I get 1 to 3 to 5 updates per day, depending on the context of what I may be doing. I am now totally fine with that! Just as much when a day, or two, or more! go by and I haven’t shared anything. That’s fine, too! I decided what I want to do is focus on the long term of the interactions, pretty much like with blogging and realise and embrace that some times you would have something to talk about and that in some others it’s much better to sit back, relax, enjoy the conversations flowing by and keep learning. In Google Plus I do care more for the conversations, taking the time to respond to each and everyone of the comments that come through, pretty much like I try to do on my personal business blog. Main reason being that it’s much easier to keep up with than with other social networking sites. I hardly ever share, broadcast any link, unless its content is just so powerful that I feel compelled to engage on a follow-up conversation with various people. I have built up the habit of sharing and commenting on links to other interesting readings, more than anything else as a learning experience for yours truly when interacting with others, build a bunch of food for thought which will then be reflected on upcoming blog posts, like this one. And so forth.
Essentially, what I decided to do with my Google Plus experience is to tailor it to be half way in between short bursts to connect with people all over the place, to then spark conversations on topics we both / all may care about and feel very passionate about and eventually develop deeper thinking about them that will see the end-result in blog posts. And over the last few weeks that seems to have worked incredibly well, to the point where one of the threads that I have started in there helped me prepare (Thanks ever so much everyone who participated in it!) the flow for one of the most important presentations I may be delivering in my lifetime next week Friday in Zurich. And this is where I feel narrating your work by working out loud with Google Plus would probably be my main use case for G+ from here onwards.
That’s right, from now onwards, I plan to continue making use of the following hash tags to share a glimpse, or two, of what it is that I go through at work as a social computing evangelist with the aim of inspiring some more observable work coming along. So, to that extent I will be using #elsuasworkbook #narrateyourwork #workingoutloud #observablework #owork plus whatever other hash tags related to the context of what I will be sharing. One of the other perks and advantages of doing so as well is to be able to capture plenty of the activities I’ll be involved with throughout the year, so when year end comes along I will have a good overview of what I may, or may not!, have accomplished throughout. And since it’s going to be shared out there in the open and transparently, I am hoping it would also benefit other folks as a result of it.
Thus, if you are just catching up now, and would want to take a peek of what I have been doing over the last couple of months, go ahead and dive into it, see how narrating my work is helping me become more effective and productive at what I do with Google Plus and I do hope as well some of that content shared may be compelling enough for you to drop by and share a comment or two and keep the dialogue going … I will surely be looking forward to it! Pretty much like I have been doing on this blog all along… Yes, I know what you may be thinking about … will Google Plus replace this blog over time, like it’s done for a good number of people out there already? No, I don’t think so. At least, not yet. My blog is still my blog, my voice, my online CV, my business card, my virtual self. Google Plus though is just about to help amplify and augment that voice one notch higher…