This visualisation is part of an article on collaborative spaces. For several days in Malmö, Sweden, faculty and doctoral students from Fielding Graduate University, members and leaders from Media Evolution and various guests that represented different parts of the greater community gathered to discuss collaborative spaces. We looked at Malmö as a city, Media Evolution as a community and Fielding as an institution. I am posting the visual with intent to open for discussion and make room for further evolution in this case and others. After the launch of the B Team yesterday, I was inspired to share this add to the conversation. The full article on collaborative spaces will be coming shortly. In the meantime, please feel free to comment, share and reflect. I might even suggest, take time for a fika and reflect with others who imagine the change.
At what stage have you evolved towards social optimisation? Where is your organisation? As with human development, we cannot run before we walk. Adapting social strategies in organizational cultures or leadership that have not evolved past Stage 5 (Identity, brand and marketing focus) can lead to greater confusion and chaos. Consider where you are, listen to where others are and where your teams are. How can you help your organisation evolve?
The evolutionary process of Social Optimisation, building and maintaining mutually beneficial and effective relationships, as correlates to Erikson’s psychosocial development is as follows:
The paradigm has shifted, and the learning curve is steep. Some will rise and some will fall. Social media marketing is only a small piece of the picture. Understanding that social is people, and people are not just our customers is a start to the journey.
Organizations are made up of people in many different roles. Their jobs require people both internally in the organization and externally in partners, product & service providers, new hires, investors, and so on. Relationships are what count whether business to business or business to consumer, it comes down to people.
Each person has a story that contains knowledge, experience, passions, interests, skills, and people. Each individual is a unique part of the whole organizations and defines its collective story. It is this story we share and grow in social technologies. Leadership must take active part in the story for an organization to succeed in this new paradigm.
Social Optimization, the building and maintaining of MUTUALLY beneficial and effective relationships, is a key behavioral shift when mastering the Art of Social Strategy. This does not come simply from balancing the gives and takes by counting interactions. The behavior change must be a result of recognizing the value of all relationships as part of the whole. It comes from understanding who we are (as individuals and organizations), what we have to offer and what/who we need and how to reach it/them.
Social technologies are tools that help us optimize this change in behavior when we learn how to best apply them. They simplify our processes for supporting our networks and communities, receiving that support in return. Sharing knowledge globally through different sensory stimulus has never been easier. It has evolved beyond text. It is visual, interactive, musical and memorable. Language and time are no longer limitations for creating a global community of advocates.
Understanding who we are and who is part of our story is the first step of the journey. How you apply social optimization is what will determine your success over the long haul.
Bringing all the elements of social together to consider the benefit and impact on organizations and their influence has become an increasingly important. To speak about being “a people oriented organization” social must be taken into account. My recent workshops in Egypt and Ethiopia followed by strategy sessions with a global company and executive trainings for business leaders have all had a common thread. In revising my presentation for the Ethiopia (note, 0.4% Internet penetration) to provide context, I removed the social media tools themselves(that all clients seem to want to jump ahead to). Doing this, the opportunities and the pitfalls of social became more distinct. I have returned to my “social optimization” theory that requires developing and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships for growth and sustainability in a social economy. This mean you have to look at how and why you interact with your human capital first BEFORE you apply to on-line tools. It is the cultivation part that is so critical and often overlooked.
The above presentation, of course, had much discussion that lead in different paths depending on the context for the audience. The workshops in Ethiopia and Egypt were more focused on growing businesses to compete in the global marketplace, and emphasized Networking and Communications. We spent a lot of time bringing clarity to their stories and finding context for growth. The corporate and executive presentation and workshops were held in northern Europe, and had more of a business strategy and Corporate Social Responsibility emphasis. Engagement and finding ways to be more effective were the focus of conversation.
A note regarding the video, as it may not have as much context without the accompanying dialog. Aired in 2002, its re-emergence explains the power of word of mouth and sharing things in social tools beyond their original intended use. I use it often in presentations because it touches beautifully on the feeling of discovering context and connecting to something greater than ourselves by listening.
On a personal note, I have to say that I am thoroughly inspired by the people and the opportunities that working in social strategy has presented. I work with interesting and companies and executives that recognize the need to prepare their organizations for the social economy in order to sustain their company’s and their markets’ futures. I devote part of my work to creating change through knowledge sharing in the networks where I feel it will have the greatest impact. In this part,I am both supporting economic growth through women entrepreneurs, especially in developing markets, as well as teaching for the academic and non-profit arena where there social tools can have immense impact on change and the next generation. I look forward to connecting to more people that are working in this cross-over area. For me, that is social optimization, as I get to learn, to teach, to be inspired, and hopefully to inspire some along the way.
This presentation is a summary of slides from a three part class on social media strategy. It was designed for the particular audience, which was business school students and entrepreneurs. The last slide provides a basic exercise for getting started on building a stronger foundation for your social strategy. I am revising the second two parts (Social Media & Implementation) for a more general audience to upload shortly. The class name has since been updated to “Social Business Strategy.” Please feel free to contact me should you be interested in learning more about this class and supporting materials.
I finally give in. As a serial expat, my American language has become influenced by British and European English resulting in my spelling going to pot. Working with Social Optimization does not help given its blatant exposure of my weakness. So, I give in. I will use (or at least try) to return to my American roots and spell with the “z” of my childhood. I must admit I am attached to the the softness of the s in “optimisation” so it will be with regret. I have received sufficient flack from both family/friends and readers now that I must decide. On top of it all is the fact that in order to optimise for search engines, I must use the more common spelling. So forgive me if I slip up every now and again. From now on you can find my work under social optimiZation. But fear not, I will not become a ForbeZ.
I am reminded by my colleague as we sit and work on the book about “Social Optimisation” that the biggest struggle that we all share is too few hours in the day. Trying to keep up with blogs and tweets, curriculum development for classes, presentations to tweek to specific audiences and deliverables for consulting clients becomes a bit of a balancing act (pun intended), not to mention having a life and keeping healthy (which by the way is not optional, its required in the social optimisation equation). Yes, even those who work with balance can become off-balance. But this only fuels my fire, so to speak. The more effective the tools, the easier to take the best of what there is to reuse where applicable and apply where needed. The beautiful thing about social is that we all use it in most of the areas of our work. It is about people communicating with people. The message and the methods may change, but the base principals are the same.
I have decided to try some different tools that might make the message simpler and cleaner, video. So keep posted, for video blogging to come. (Of course, the drilling above my office might make this a challenge, I will do my best.) Tomorrow begins “Q-Day” that leads up to “Innovation in Mind”. So, I will be blogging and “V-blogging” during the day and we will see if this works well.
During the Summer I had both the traumatic and delightful experience of being offline for nearly five weeks. Usually connected to the Internet every waking minute, I experienced what felt close to withdrawal when both my computer and Smartphone broke. Given my location being very remote, I took this as an opportunity to organise my thoughts and do the other part of social optimisation.
Yes, I got social face to face. I interviewed others on their professional and personal experiences with online social media and face to face social networks. I listened, reflected and responded. The beauty of faces and their expressiveness when they spoke with passion was profound. Having the unusual opportunity to being among a hugely diverse community in fields, levels, interests, ages, expertise and technical savvy was the perfect setting for testing theories on social optimisation and building relationships.
Amy Domini, CEO of Domini Social Investments (pictured above, as we headed out for a sail), said it well, there is no better way to get to the heart of things. With salt water splashing in your face and the sun beaming down, laughter and genuine experience is shared amidst conversations saving the problems of the world and sharing knowledge.
So, now I am back at the office with a repaired computer and replacement mobile phone. With weeks of mail to catch up on and meetings and trainings to prepare for, there is not much social for the next bit. I thank those who shared such wonderful social moments. I hope that others have had similar experiences, if not you should try and please share your insights. I am glad for the reminder of the power of the face to face connection of really being social.
- BE AUTHENTIC: You can only be what or who you are. This is dynamic and changing as well as multidimensional. Represent that clearly and with both pride in success and humility in failures. It is much easier and will be respected. Deception will only come back to bite you.
- DEFINE GOALS: Understanding what you hope to gain from a relationship minimises time spent on relationships with no gain, and often drain. Have a strategy and understand both what you have to offer as well as what you need. Unhealthy relationships as well as those connections that just create added noise without relevance most likely should be removed to make room for accomplishing goals.
- LISTEN: There is much to be learned by listening, we gain insight into others, their needs, their feedback, the knowledge and their experience. Understand who they are and learn their story, this creates depth in relationships.
- SHARE: Knowledge is a wonderful thing, but without sharing it is worthless. Share what you know with others and build. Connect peers that have mutual needs or potential synergies.
- BE PRESENT: Isolation is not social. Learn where your peers, or audience are and participate in the conversation.
- BE POSITIVE: Solutions never come from whining or shooting the messenger. If you see opportunity for improvement suggest it. When you come across something you like, provide praise.
- BE CURRENT: Update your peers on your status, on things that are relevant and keep current with the tools which will always be evolving.
These are the foundation steps. They are meant to be generalised to accomodate both online and offline as well as individual and organisation scenarios. I welcome your thoughts on these “rules of engagement”.
People are what make things social. Our interactions with people are online, off-line, in the office, board room, and classroom, with our clients, shareholders, customers, friends and family. So, let us not mix up the terms “social media optimisation” and “social optimisation.” Social media optimisation is about maximising the positive impact while minimising the effort when using social media channels for communications with people on-line. Social optimising includes the off-line relationships that are often (but not always) the foundation of these relationships and gaining the maximum mutual benefit from them. Where we are present for face to face interactions, or who we have shared history with can determine a great deal. The end result when we optimise is quality, improvement through learning and dialog, depth in mutual understanding and creation of sustainable relationships. The additional benefit is the we create more time to enjoy our successful relationships and ourselves: balance. Time is the ultimate return on investment (ROI) of social optimisation. Time is money, don’t waste it, enjoy it.
Whether you apply these terms to a corporate strategy or to your individual approach, the end results are the same. Optimising requires understanding what you want to achieve, your strategy, applying the best tools to communicate with your people (where are they already), creating a dialog, listening to the response, and maintaining your relationships. Social optimisation requires application of the three basic rules (REAL, RELATIVE and RESPECT) to create sustainable quality relationships that will benefit you whether you are social for recruiting, branding, R&D, team building, selling or just keeping in touch with friends. In the end the “social” comes down to the person at the other end.