Monday, January 3, 2011

Early Adopters in a Late Adopter Workplace

Every Business 2.0 fan wants to be part of the action. They want their company to be fully integrated into the web via social networking and use ESSPs (Emergent Social Software Platforms) to collaborate and innovate.

But for the majority of companies this is simply never going to happen. And the Social Business fans that are stuck in them need to either shift their perspectives, or start jogging to cope with their frustration.

Just last week I was helping a mid-sized firm with their basic social networking efforts. I asked through email how many people had a LinkedIn account. 45% responded that they had one set up. About half of those said they never used it.

I set up a LinkedIn company page and through some effort I got 32% of the company properly affiliated with the firm. I had to walk around to each person’s station to help them with their accounts.

One key manager told me that he just wasn’t going to start an account. No explanation followed. And I didn’t ask for one.

Things weren’t going well. Would an executive mandate get things going? It’s always tempting to use authority to push change. However, I recommended that the CEO lead by example and continually express interest in everyone using LinkedIn.

This company was full of late adopters. Even if the CEO mandated more social networking, most of the employees would modify their behaviors just enough to avoid trouble. And as soon as they weren’t being watched, they would return to the status quo.

Manage your expectations or you are bound to find yourself in moments of frustration. This is easier said than done. If you are a new Business 2.0 fan, buy some jogging shoes.

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