Today I heard a great presentation from Rob Jones of Crossrail. He was talking about his organisation’s experience with social media, and he said something important for anyone looking to introduce or develop social media within their own company. He said this: social media tools won’t change your culture. It is not a miracle cure all for your organisational ills.
My own experience tells me this is true.
If you have a culture now that doesn’t value team work, social media won’t change this. If you have a culture adverse to risk, inflexible in the face of change or unwilling to share, social media cannot sweep this away overnight.
If you have employees that routinely complain, then they will complain about social media too, or they’ll complain through it. The same people who used to say they haven’t time to read your emails, the monthly newsletter, check out your intranet, won’t see they should make time to be social all of a sudden either. If employees don’t tend to collaborate, then they will exclude themselves from these channels.
Social media cannot solve your culture problems, but it will hold a mirror up to them. Non-adoption of social internally is telling you as much about your culture as those who are actively sharing.
Social media is just a vehicle, a method, a mechanism. A technology that can enable, but not wholeheartedly solve. It is no magic wand.
But it will help you look in the mirror. Understand your organisation. Know how people are thinking and feeling. What they value and what they don’t.
Are you the fairest of them all?