A great culture in an organisations is something to be celebrated. A poor culture in an organisation is something to be confronted and changed. Social media does a great job of shining the light on both great and dismal organisational cultures. Social media is helping to drive the evolution to more porous organisations where the boundaries between employees and external stakeholders is blurring.
The implementation projects we have worked on typically start with something like an LMS and often include implementing or utilising a platform like Microsoft SharePoint or Citrix Podio, [among many others]. These tools add a social dimension to an organisation that many would classify as more collaboration than social; I disagree. We now have clients moving to Lync, Yammer, Salesforce Chatter, Jive, Hangouts and many others that have the potential to open up social communication both inside and outside the organisation. This can be scary stuff to the leaders of an organisation with a toxic culture. There is no more hiding.
In some projects the implementation projects were focused purely on people inside the organisation and helping them collaborate and share more effectively. The impact of culture cannot be over-estimated. Positive cultures have more rapid adoption of social tools and they share the good, bad and ugly with a spirit of innovation and constant improvement. You can see the positive culture expressed in the honesty. On the other hand a toxic culture will approach social tools with constrained and vanilla communication. The sharing is completely cloaked in fear of standing out and reprisal. There is no way to hide this. It is damaging within an organisation and even more so if there is leakage outside the organisation in social channels.
A healthy organisation always has leadership that communicates repeatedly and effectively to its people. The healthy organisation will have a shared understanding of how the social and learning technologies contribute to the organisation’s vision, strategy and their alignment between the work they do and achieving strategic goals. This consistency is further evidenced in the communications on social media platforms communicating to those outside the organisation.
When the opposite is true and there is a lack of shared vision and strategy this permeates communications and collaboration to customers and other stakeholders outside the organisation. A lack of consistency of message will dampen the trust levels and compromise relationships.
Organisational health is so dependent upon effective communications developed in and delivered in system and process frameworks. For example, the communication of strategy and organisational goals must cascade to interpersonal discussions within teams and between individuals. This cannot be left to ad-hoc reliance on managers to undertake these actions on their own, instead they need to be part of a process that includes feedback loops that encourage contributions by people regardless of their status in the organisation.
If you would like to discuss the ideas in this blog or get some ideas on how to develop a social enterprise strategy please get in touch. If you would like help to develop and execute a social enterprise strategy and move your organisation to a higher state of health, we have a defined process to achieve these outcomes.