Top 10 Social Business Questions in 2013

3) What does social business mean for my organisation specifically?

Social business isn’t a bolt-on, or a function, or just another project – rather it’s a set of practices that infiltrate every business area, helping you deliver all your existing projects and reach your existing goals and objectives better, faster and cheaper. That’s not to say investment isn’t required, as many organisations are struggling to resource their social efforts, particularly when it comes to monitoring and engaging in conversations online; and sharing useful and interesting content. And that’s before we even get onto internal collaboration and the reengineering of processes... Read The Rest →

Struggling with social? Stop sweating the tech

So many execs I meet are bewildered by digital, social, all things funky new tech and 21st century. More specifically, they’re bewildered by their lack of understanding of ‘this new world’. The dark art. The thing is, we’re missing the point. There is no need for everybody to embrace all cool new tools. In fact, trying to do so would tie many up in knots and totally waste their time. CEOs should not fret about Facebook likes. The explosive boom in available tools has only just begun. There’s exponential growth... Read The Rest →

Powerpoint: A Substitute for Action (& Pub Strategy)

We invest a good chunk of our time and energy at work puzzling over strategies, measurable objectives, roadmaps and implementation schedules. The fruits of our labour culminate in a powerpoint that’s approved, a box ticked and a consensus reached that we all have very, very good intentions. In reality, 90% of organisations fail to execute their strategies successfully. What’s more, it’s estimated that managers spend more than $10 billion annually on strategic analysis and strategy formulation, meaning $9 billion is wasted every year. So what’s going on? Why aren’t we... Read The Rest →

(Social) Business Theory of Everything

Physicists have long sought a Theory of Everything to explain and link all known physical phenomena, so the outcome of any experiment could be predicted. The problem is, unifying general relativity and quantum mechanics is so difficult that is remains a great unsolved problem in physics; and a Theory of Everything remains elusive. —- Some social business initiatives aren’t working because tools are shoved in first, with no integration into existing workflows, low awareness and engagement among employees, underinvestment in training, insufficient buy-in across the exec board and other common... Read The Rest →

Social business? It’s just plain business

Buzz around ‘social business’ has gone crazy in recent months, but having spoken to brands about it for some time now, I’m convinced we’re confusing the hell out of them. We whack ‘social’ on terms to connote something cool, new and 21st century, but the reality is it’s just plain old business – i.e. finding ways to do things faster, better and cheaper. The significance of social media in the rush for ‘enterprise 2.0’ prowess is that it’s pushing – you could say forcing – brands to change. Firstly, social... Read The Rest →

Fast is better than slow (loose is better than tight!)

Tight, centralised control mechanisms are super attractive to comfort-seeking humans. The trouble is, they aren’t working. The tougher the times, the stronger the compulsion to issue reams of rules, legislation and policy. Just look at the state of politics, drinking and drug laws; and long-winded employee handbooks nobody ever reads. Arse-covering document production lures us into a false sense of security, skews our priorities and often demolishes common sense. We focus on empty words and numbers, lazily neglecting to change people’s behaviour and instigate true culture change beneath the surface.... Read The Rest →

Gutless Wonders and the Control Illusion

Ian Davis, previously worldwide MD of McKinsey, once said, “Long-gone is the day of the gut-instinct management style. Today’s business leaders are adopting algorithmic decision-making techniques and using highly sophisticated software to run their organisations.” An astounding example of the control illusion. Nothing sits better in a crisis than intense rationality. Trouble is, we’re deluding ourselves. For one thing – as neuroscientist Antonion Damasio proved by studying people with damage to the part of the brain where emotions are generated – decisions are driven by emotions. With our rational brain... Read The Rest →

Death by meetings

Imagine a world where you only ever had to have conversations you were actually interested in. Now think about a recent time when you had to sit through a painful conversation that bored the crap out of you. I bet you were thinking of a meeting situation. Hmmm. Funny that. It’s tricky to remember the old days without mobile and email. The days when face-to-face meetings were vital – rigidly planned, with meticulous agendas and clear purpose. Given this is no longer the case – and the fact we have... Read The Rest →

Resilience & Adaptability

A while back I posted up this deck on Unleasing Innovation & 21st Century Scale. Unleashing innovation & 21st century scale – Palindromic Queries View more presentations from ResonanceBlog Just thought I’d follow up with a new Palindromic Query: The greater the external influence on something, the more resilient and adaptable it becomes. Consider children, immune systems, evolution, nano-architecture and the way a plant grows thicker on the surface that’s most exposed to the elements. Consider societies or social groups with least external influence and the affect on their resilience... Read The Rest →

Formula for writing books & other complex stuff

This won’t work for everyone, but for you right-brained folks with book-writing aspirations, this simple secret formula could be a game-changer. The difficulty with writing books is overcoming the ‘where to begin’ barrier, then finding a way to distill and organise masses of complex information into a sensible order. The vast majority of us never fulfill our authorly destinies for exactly these reasons. Panic not. It isn’t as complex as you think. The core formula for a factual book is: 1. Make a point (what… are you telling your reader)... Read The Rest →

It’s My Ass on the Line

When you’re trying to keep up in a fast-changing world, fast is better than slow. Customers expect nothing less than lightning response. Markets demand it. The best people presume it. Most companies aren’t geared up for this accelerating pace, particularly big ones. The result is lack of innovation and too often, slow death. Sometimes sudden death. There are loads of reasons for this. Here are a few: 1. ‘It’s my ass on the line’ syndrome. The biggest symptom of a deep-rooted blame culture, leading to inability to stick your neck... Read The Rest →

Purposeful experimentation = innovative leaps

Wouldn’t it be marvelous if there was a computer simulation that would enable you to test out new, radical business moves. What if you could set it running and see what happens if you abolish set working hours, make all meetings optional, put a bunch of Rail developers in charge of HMRC, or have everyone in your company spend half their time doing whatever they want? The trouble is, the simulation would never be able to make a true prediction. There are too many variables, too much complexity, too many... Read The Rest →

The quest for autonomy

Autonomy comes from the Greek word autonomos, meaning (auto) ‘self’ (nomos) ‘law’. It refers to ‘the capacity of a rational individual to make an informed, un-coerced decision’ [Wikipedia]. For some time we’ve known that autonomy is what really makes people happy at work (not money! evidenced here and here). Luckily, enabling people to doing things in a self-guided way is exactly what makes companies most innovative and profitable. Just look at Google engineers, encouraged to take 20% of their time to work on whatever they like; hence Gmail, Google News... Read The Rest →

From machines to ecosystems

When we talk about thriving in the digital age, we tend to revert to discussing how to leverage social media, mobile and other cool channels. There’s nothing wrong with that (and I do it myself!), but it can be useful to consider the bigger picture now and then. The challenges we face in business are not related to technology, they’re related to human beings. The industrial revolution brought us machines; and with it linear, machine-age thinking, articulated in machine-age language that in turn makes us think more like machines. This... Read The Rest →

Heaven for mavericks

Ricardo Semler took over his Dad’s Brazilian business, Semco, in the 80s. Semco now employs over 3,000 people in manufacturing, professional services and high-tech. They increased their annual revenues from $35 million to $165 million between 1994 and 2001. At its peak, there was a 17-month waiting list for the bi-weekly tour of Semco, as corporate leaders from all over the world clamored for a peek at their magic dust. Semco has no org chart, no official structure, no business plan, no company strategy, no 3-year or 5-year plan, no... Read The Rest →

Kill false assumptions & evolve

Many of us are making decisions based on false assumptions every single day. In fact we’re underpinning our businesses, organisations, products and personal lives with false assumptions. We keep on doing things that have been proven wrong, that haven been proven not to work, despite mounting evidence that there’s a better way. Our false assumptions are memes, i.e. viral cultural ideas we pass from human to human, brain to brain (you can read a bit more about memes in my previous post on replicators here). Sometimes we keep spreading memes... Read The Rest →

Markets are conversations… so what? Part II

Following my last post a few folk asked me to expand on how to enable two-way comms. To cut a long story short, if you’re a big company with loads of people wanting to talk, the only way to get scale is to empower your staff to talk to customers. Companies who’ve been around for a long time often can’t see a way to make this happen – or it’s already happening in pockets under the radar and they don’t know how to control it. The important point to remember... Read The Rest →

Your agile self

The word ‘agility’ is being bandied about a lot lately. Agile development processes are the norm in tech companies now – favoured over the old school linear (waterfall) method, for obvious reasons, like more rapid development and alignment with customer need. It stands to reason we can no longer risk the time and money wrapped up in locking ourselves in a room, devising and developing, then unleashing on the world in the hope they like what we’ve group-thunk. Instead we iterate, evolve, collaborate, release little and often and pursue a... Read The Rest →

Brookside, postboxes & SaaS development

Loads of illuminating analogies have emerged in conversations with Andrew Missingham, but today there’s one in particular that popped up… You may remember when the soap Brookside launched on Channel 4. The storylines were based around folk living in a close of houses. They had some trouble at the outset however, in that script writers realised they hadn’t created enough ‘stock devices’ – places where people could meet that would fuel the dramatic unfolding of events. Their answer was to put a postbox on the street, so residents would accidentally... Read The Rest →

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