Taking a Bite Out of a Change Sandwich

As a mid-career guy who happens to work in the Social Business space, I have a vantage point that provides me with a perspective I think will resonate with many of you.

There is plenty of evidence illustrating the impact the Social Media revolution has had on business, and many conclusions can be made from them. If you have not seen these yet, they are worth watching:

2010 Social Media Revolution

2011 Social Media Revolution

Most Business Leaders understand, given the macro-view they take with most of their roles, that “Social” is not a fad, that it is a fundamental shift in the way people communicate, and that it needs to be incorporated into their business strategies. They also understand that the adoption of collaborative tools in the workplace can effectively and rapidly breakdown the “Cylinders of Excellence” that impede knowledge transfer. Adoption of Social and Digital concepts is not particularly difficult here, but as it’s more theory than practice at this level, it is not as great a challenge.

Likewise, many of the rank-and-file, especially when talking about younger Gen-Xers and Milennials, almost intuitively use Social tools for communication. If 90% of email is in fact spam, there are strong indicators that new Media tools are rapidly becoming a highly effective, if not dominating communication model in the younger demographic. These workers are ready to, if not already are, using Social Business and Collaborative tools both inside and out of the workplace.

Where (generally) we’re seeing resistance is in mid to upper middle management. There are a few main reasons for this-

1) Many people are frankly “set in their ways”. In many cases we’re talking about people who have been performing the same job the same way for a number of years, and are generally focused (justifiably) on day-to day operating metrics. New tools and techniques often appear to be faddish and time-wasters.

2) There is a generational component at play here as well-Many (if not most) of our mid/upper middle management workers fall into the Boomer generation, which in the workforce represents the least likely demographic to use Social tools.

3) Factor in that we are all “doing more with  less”, and integrating the “new, shiny toy” becomes less and less palatable.

Here is where the Change Sandwich comes in:

For the most part the leaders “get it”. That’s the top bun.

The junior end of the work force is using it and is an integral part of their lives. That’s the bottom bun.

The meat is in the middle

In order to effectively integrate social and collaborative tools in the enterprise, support for them must come from the operational leaders of day-to-day business. The team I work with spends the bulk of our time evangelizing and demonstrating how these tools and strategies to employ them can benefit the business.

One example would be converting text-heavy process guides into short, three to five minute video tutorials housed on our internal collaborative platform (to facilitate sharing).

Here is an example of what we are doing in the YouTube channel to deliver a series of “How To” videos on frequent customer questions.

What are you doing to take a bite out of your change sandwich?

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