Social Business Failure #10: Assume This is About Being Social


In preparation for a meeting, I came in early and set up the computer and projector with the organization’s social networking application.  My job was support a team lead as she rolled out how they will use the tool to totally revamp and streamline their on-boarding process.  The first two ladies came in.  As they talked among themselves, one of them looked up at the screen and said, “What is that?”

“Oh, its our social networking site.  I don’t know much about it.”

“Social networking?!  I don’t have time for that.  Who does?  I don’t have time to waste.”

“I don’t know – neither do I. I have been in a couple times, but haven’t done anything.”

I sat back, silently, smiling, knowing that they are about to be asked to use it and wondering what their reaction will be in an hour.

After everyone arrived, the meeting kicked off.  The team lead talked about the current process and how difficult it was.  They all agreed: it was a real pain and had been for some time.  Then the lead talked about how she found a way to decrease the frustration and at the same time create more accountability, more visibility and decrease the time to bringing a person on to the payroll.

All sat and listened and gave input.  At the end she asked, “Is this something we can all do and commit to?”  Everyone agreed – this was going to be far better than what they have now.  They were all ready to adopt this new process.  This included the ladies who wanted nothing to do with the tool an hour earlier.

It’s Not About Being Social

Why did the lady’s attitude change?  At first, for them, it was all about “social” and they wanted nothing to do with it.  When they realized it was about getting work done and the word “social” was never used, suddenly they saw the benefit.

Social technologies within organizations are about working differently to get the job done better, more efficiently and effectively than could be done before.  It is about improving business.  When we approach the workforce from the standpoint of a business consultant, focusing on integrating it into their workflow, helping them to transform the way they work, and they see the benefits, it is hard not to give it a try.

Social is a byproduct of the work and the environment, not the product itself.


  • How can we help others focus on working differently?
  • What can we do to show that this is about getting real work done?