Review: The 8 Step Guide to a Social Workplace by @adigaskell

8steps-featuredSome time ago I had the good fortune of being asked to publish my content to DZone: Social Business. I was quite honored to be considered, after all, I was merely a fledgling SocBiz blogger.

Adi Gaskell
Adi Gaskell

The dude that asked me is Adi Gaskell (@adigaskell). We’ve been “following” each other ever since. Next to that, he’s a major commenter on this site, which is always good.

So, when Adi mentioned he was working on a SocBiz whitepaper, I was positively thrilled.., and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

Now, at last, it is done, and I got a chance to read it.

The 8 Step Guide to a Social Workplace

The 8 Step Guide to Building a Social Workplace
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The first half of the book delves into the ‘Why’ of Social Business. It is a very logical place to start, because for a lot, it is still a big mystery. Even for those who are active practitioners, the ‘Why’ can sometimes be cloaked by the ‘How’.

The details of implementing, and the daily challenges can become distracting, even overwhelming. As mentioned in the book, the adaptation, or transformation, to a Social Business takes time, a lot of it. Sometimes it’s good, even necessary, to take a step back and remember the ‘Why.

For those coming to grips with Social Business, the first chapter is really useful. Here Adi deals with a few myths and misconceptions that do need to be cleared up before diving into the good stuff. Also, the list with (potential) benefits is extensive and inspiring.

I dare anybody to read that list and then dismiss the potential of a Social Workplace (read the first chapter at the end of this post).

Return On Investment

roiROI; a business term I was not familiar with before Social entered the realm of business.., and the one term that keeps popping up in almost every conversation, book or blogpost.

This is because asking; “What is the ROI on Social” is a very legitimate question. When you consider the time, effort and money that is involved, even in running a Facebook Page, is significant. Having a Facebook Page (or Twitter account) is, of course, a far cry from being a Social Business, and the investment that is required is equal to that. Depending on the size of the company, it can be gargantuan. Determining the ROI is therefore a very necessary step to take.

Often the problem with social business isn’t making a difference, it’s in that positive impact actually being measured

The main school of thought is leaning more and more towards having a clear purpose when it comes to Social Business. Whether the purpose of the adaptation is social or commercial, once this purpose is set, you can begin measuring it.

There still is an air of “let’s just begin” to it, but then ROI is indeed difficult to measure, if not impossible.

Basically, companies already measure a lot within a company. When you aim to change a certain process with the help of social tools, it’s relative easy to keep measuring, and, in the long run, see the difference.

For All To See

Through various use cases, from thought leaders in the industry, Adi explains in a clear and concise manner how the game is played.., and won. It is written in a no-nonsense down-to-Earth manner.., and this is important.

With job titles like Social Media Evangelist, Social Activationist, Community Data Guerilla and all the Ninja’s and Rockstars out there, it is difficult to take social serious. And it’d be even harder when you want to sell your Social Business ideas to The Board.

Hence the importance of this book, the content, and the way it is written. It cannot be denied that Social Business is a very, very serious business. The potential benefits can be listed, but are still hard to grasp, and many will only present themselves after many years.

This book gives you the advantage and answers you need, and it will convince you to take that step; to call in for reinforcements to get the job done.


It is imperative to realise that 80%(!) of all Social Business exploits die a silent death. Taking with them the hope and enthusiasm of those involved.Momentum is a crucial element of change. Having to re-invest time and effort (let alone money) is a hard thing to do.

The Social Business Adaptation is such an intense, long and highly customised process that a good first step is crucial.

This book will help you take that step, it will help you realise what Social Business is, how you can benefit from it, and which questions to ask when you invite someone like Adi Gaskell to your office.

“Why? Social Business” – My E-book

UPDATE: The 5 day give-away of my E-book has ended. I can say it’s been a tremendous success. So much so that I don’t want to disappoint you, so if you still want a free copy, you can sign up (and get 60 Pieces of Blogging Advice too), or just get your Kindle copy for only a couple of bucks.


When I realised that the various jobs I held over the past had some major social business elements in them, I started to take the term serious and started digging into it more and more.

Eventually leading me to write Why? Social Business, a 33 page E-book explaining why a business should get on this train. I wanted to make the “why” crystal clear for me and anybody who’d read the book.

why? social business ebookMy first real moment where I could name “Social Business” was when I saw an interview with Mark Fidelman, done by Dino Dogan. Mark had written a book; “Socialized!: How the Most Successful Businesses Harness the Power of Social (Social Century)“, and the way he described it fitted perfectly with what I had in my when it came to social and business. At least in part.

Add to that (mandatory reading): “What’s the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences” by Brian Solis and “Social Business By Design: Transformative Social Media Strategies for the Connected Company” by Dion Hinchcliffe and Peter Kim and the image becomes crystal clear.

What I learned was that Social Business is so much more than just implementing a tool, a piece of software or adopting a social media platform. In fact, technology (and social media) is only the enabler. It’s people who are the driving force behind a Social Business.

The philosophy of a company needs to change, the mindset. For some companies their whole way of thinking and day-to-day routine must change. These are some significant realisations.

It’s still business mind you. There still has to be a ROI, the changes still have to be lead to results. I would not go as far as saying it’s a project. A project, by definition has an end. Social Business doesn’t “end”. It’s something you do. Sure, the implementation of a specific tool, or the change of a workflow are still projects.

It the long run, social business will become business as usual.

Why? Social Business

Why Social Business E-book
Why? Social Business

Back to the book and this post. I asked Mark Fidelman to write the foreword of my E-book. Mainly, because it was he who opened my eyes and I wanted to thank him for that.

“Use this book as a jumping-off point to spark your company’s dialogue about social business. Bring it to the higher-ups, and show them why they need to adapt… or else risk extinction.”

– Mark Fidelman

The premise of the book was to help those who are wondering what the heck we’re all talking about. The buzz around SocBiz is tangible, however, I still have the feeling that few know what it entails. I can imagine many mid- and top-level managers would love some answers, a rough guide if you will.

This is not a ‘for dummies’ book and it’s not a complete field manual for transforming your business. I too have learned form others.

I wrote about Geoff Livingston’s personal exodus, and however this is not a novel, nor in print, nor a quadrillion pages thick.., it was still a tour de force. It forced to write down all my wandering thoughts into a coherent (and readable) format.


For the next 5 days I’m offering my first E-book for free to my readers. In fact, if you know anybody who might benefit from this book, let them know, so they can get a copy too, then go ahead. Don’t forget to claim this wonderful find for yourself. Your friends will think you’re just awesome!!

I am proud of my work (can I say that.., sure I can). I’m very content. I didn’t write it to become rich, I am a pragmatic realist (yes, that helps with Social Business too). But, I do want to share my achievement with the world, with my readers and friends.


So.., there it is.

All I ask in return is let other people know about it and if you wish, leave a comment or a rating on Amazon.

Also, feel free to leave a comment, I’d love some feedback.

The books

Below are the books I use, which are my reference (these are affiliate links, if you don’t want that, click on the links at the beginning of the post).

I added “Why? Social Business” because, let’s face, it looks mighty cool.

The Personal Exodus of A Writer

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I stumbled across a marketing blogger named Geoff Livingston.

In fact, in was through Triberr and Dino Dogan’s tribe “The Ori” that I was introduced to this remarkable man.

Exodus - A New Novel from Geoff LivingstonIn the beginning Geoff wrote about marketing, and I shared his content via Triberr to my followers, because they were well written and well considered posts, worthy of sharing.
I also noticed the community behind the blog, the comments were (are) always interesting and supporting, always adding to the conversation.

As a blogger I know how difficult it is to gather such a following of loyal readers and commenters.

A Change of Pace

One of the reasons I stuck around on Geoff’s blog is because of his more personal articles. Some really personal and really deep. Some even touching really sensitive subjects like antisemitism in the United States. And not just in general, but revealing part of his personal history and conflicts.., heavy stuff.

I grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia called Glenside between the ages of 2-8. We were the only Jewish family in an Irish Catholic neighborhood.

We (the readers of the blog) could feel something was up. And when the time came, we all understood the change.

We did not all accept this change, apparently a third of Geoff’s readers decided they wanted nothing to do with this more personal style of writing. Mind you, he still writes about marketing, just a little less.


Exodus: Book One of the FundamentalistsOn 7th June Geoff revealed what his ‘secret project’ was and why his blog had turned such a personal corner.

He’d written a novel.

And he’d been working on this book for 19 (nineteen) years. I was thinking, if this book is as epic as the time it took to write.., then I surely want to read it. And, being a fan of Geoff I signed up to the ‘Exodus’ newsletter and was fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy to sink my teeth into.

Now, when it comes to novels, I’m not a fast reader (that’s why I don’t start with Game of Thrones, I’d never finish it, heh). So, I haven’t finished the book yet. And in all honesty, this post isn’t about the book (although I’m loving it already).

No, this is about the personal journey of a writer. A journey put on display for everybody to read, to participate in, to comment on, to enjoy or to reject.


This post is about courage. The courage to take control of your life, to take a step back and re-evaluate, to change what needs to be changed. The courage to put yourself out there, for everybody to see, completely naked. Having 19 years of your life judged.

I watched “We Bought a Zoo” the other day, and despite having seen it before, it still got to me. And the “20 seconds of courage” rule Matt Damon’s character has is something that resonates with me. Because it’s true. It’s all you need to make that step, to hit “Publish”, to face the music. But to do it on a scale and openness that Geoff has exhibit the past year.., man.., we can learn from that.

I’ve learned from that.

Thanks Geoff, and good luck with the book.

For more on the book, watch the trailer below: