I believe Social Business can change our future

For starters, I think the word Social must not be put in the wrong context. In the case of social media and social business the opposite of social is not anti-social.

Meaning, a business that is not engaged in social, or is not a social business, is not per definition an anti-social business. It’s just not engaging with its customer base, partners or employees.

I believe Social Business can change our future

Let’s take a look at the definitions of social business.., yes.., there are two.

Social Business #1

Social Business is a concept coined by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus (pictured). By his definition “social business is a non-loss, non-dividend company designed to address a social objective within the highly regulated marketplace of today”.

This is the society conscious version of social business. In order not to confuse the two, take a look at Social Business Earth. This is an organisation raising awareness around Social Business as intended by Prof. Yunus.

Social Business #2

The term social business as I use it, was coined by Peter Kim back in January 2009.

He states: “Social business draws on trends in technology (e.g., powerful mobile devices, widespread availability of high-speed Internet access, low cost of data storage), work (e.g., always-on culture, globalisation), and society (e.g., propensity to share).”

The way I see it, the idea of a social business is a business that stays up-to-date, that stays current. It grows (or shrinks) with the times.

Meaning that when society changes, you have to change with it. When technology changes, you have to adopt it. And when people change, or want to change the way they work (in order to be more productive and happier), you have to consider facilitating this change.

Very Confusing

I find this whole lot very confusing. Oh, I understand the terminology and I understand the definitions, but it would be nice to separate them from each other.

Or should we?

After writing my article on Corporate Rebels United I started thinking about these definitions.

The two definitions of Social Business don’t have anything to do with each other. However, when you drill down a bit more, both are firmly rooted in culture.

The one is rooted in societal culture, the other in company culture.

Now, why should these two be so far apart? Surely, when a business draws on trends in technology, work and society, the step to addressing social objectives shouldn’t be too great.

The Evolution

My definition of social business is “the incorporation of technology for the benefit of a more open social construct in order to facilitate the sharing of knowledge, experiences, innovation and open communication between employees.”

Think about it.

The amount of time and effort which is required to achieve a great social working environment where you can become who you want to become is huge.

An environment which is open, social, transparent, honest and respectful… Is that not what we want to achieve, is that not the evolution we need?

And while the big chiefs in the C-Suite are providing the budget, leadership and inspiration for this magnificent change, Prof. Yunus’ vision is suddenly not that distant.

The way I see it is that if you perfect Kim’s social business, Yunus’ social business is not that elusive.
And when you set up a company according to Yunus’ principles, you have to create a culture according to Kim’s definition.

So while the two definitions are miles apart, the actual philosophy behind them is not all that different.

Wouldn’t it be nice to combine the two.

Social business is adopting a corporate culture which enables it’s employees to work in a more open and respectful environment with the intent to reflect this behaviour on society as a whole.

Technology can help with this, but it’s the mindset of corporate leadership and of employees that needs to drive this.

It’s all about people, it’s all about culture.

What is your idea on social business?

The Age of the Social Entrepreneur by @Mark_Harai

Social Entrepreneurs possess a mindset to build strategic relationships with their customers, vendors, suppliers, distributors, stakeholders and anyone who has a stake in the future success of their business.

The definition of a social entrepreneur.

By leveraging social web-based technologies you can strengthen the vitality and health of the “people relationships” that are instrumental to the health and longevity of your business.

Building your organization on a foundation of teamwork and partnerships will benefit both those inside and outside of your organization. It’s this mindset that drives the social entrepreneur.

The social web has established a platform for business owners to influence the future buying decisions of consumers by building strong relationships in the marketplace.

By being helpful, educational and attentive to people your business desires to serve, you can build a bridge that leads to your door when a buying decision is made.

Social entrepreneurs can effectively leverage human capital in ways traditional business cannot.  It’s this advantage right here that big business will never have…

Big businesses ‘buy’ everything they need, while social business can ‘inspire’ people to fill their needs.

It’s not to say a social business doesn’t spend money on filling their needs; but it does lead to connecting with and investing in people in more meaningful ways that aligns interests & personalities, and leads to loyalty & trust.

A social business established on a foundation like this has a bright future, indeed.

Social businesses are driven to make the world a better place for all…

Quote - think your idea can change the world.

Social businesses measure performance and profitability, but they also take into account the impact they are having on society.

A purpose driven business with a vision bigger than itself can align with other like-minded individuals and businesses to effect positive social and economic change in the communities they serve.

I think it’s great that CEO’s rake in millions, hundreds of millions in some cases, in compensation from large organizations they manage. But it really doesn’t make good sense for social businesses.

I’m not against an individual raking in a fortune from the work they do – I just believe it’s good social business to spread the wealth around; especially to those people and communities that are instrumental to your long term success.

That seems like a good investment of money to me :)

Social business goes beyond the boundaries of the past… You’re not bound by territory, you’re not bound by politics, you’re not bound by religion – you’re not even bound by not having a bunch of cash to start your business.

You’re bound only by your own desire & vision and the actions you take to connect with like-minded people across the globe who join your efforts to change the world one relationship at a time.

Social entrepreneurs build worthwhile businesses.

Interim Social Media Consulting, Something to Think About

I was reading a post by Mike McGrail (of Velocity Digital) titled “Social Media – Stop Thinking Tech & Start Thinking Why!

It struck me that after all this time a professional like Mike still sees the need to write a post like that.

The Interim Social Media ConsultantApparently we still stumble headlong into social media without thinking and planning.
Like Mike says, at least social is on the agenda, but at what cost.

Point of the matter is that by now we know better. We know that without proper goals one is just poring time and money down the drain.
Not to mention the frustrations that go along with an inevitable failure.

At some point some manager will want to know if the whole endeavour is worth it, if there is a ROI. And the person in charge might only be able to show a graph of the number of Likes the Facebook page has, or how many Retweets (if any).

And if that same manager has been reading up on social media he or she will know, by now,  that these are not key performance indicators.

Then, like with any other failed process there comes a time to clean up.

This is where the Interim Social Media Consultant comes in (I just made that up, but it sounds good and really plausible).

“So what does a ISMC do?”, I hear you ask.
“Good question”, I say.

There is a difference between a ‘normal’ consultant and an ISMC.
Because, with any luck, a normal consultant starts out with a clean slate. A pristine environment where an enlightened manager gives you free reign on how to set-up their SoMe.

I know, this never happens, we do not live in an Utopia. Although, if you ever encountered a situation like that, tell us about it in the comments, please?

A Mess

Anyway, the difference between a situation where a client is enthusiastically looking for something new and a client that is looking for someone to clean up the mess can be quite striking.

And it will take a different, more ad-hoc approach to get things done.

The Manager

For instance, the manager hiring you is quite likely frustrated through the lack of (real) results from his team. She also, probably, has to answer to somebody higher up. Making results an urgent matter.

And we know that results take time. Building significant relationships take time.

The Appointed Social Media Person

In many cases somebody is made to volunteer for ‘doing’ SoMe. Preferably somebody young, because they understand all this modern stuff. Or an intern, the cheapest we can find.
Or, if we’re lucky, somebody who is really trying, reasonable dedicated, but no expert.

In any case, here too you might find a lot of frustration. The ISMC will be in a position where they need to explain what went wrong and bring this person (or multiple persons, depending on the size) really fast up to speed.

No, multi-week training schedule here.


120518- Chicanes!When stepping into a new job/assignment/project you always have to be aware of the internal politics.

With social business, and a more open and respectful structure, we hope to limit the amount of politics, but until then it is something you have to be very sensitive about.

In a situation where things have gone wrong even more so.

Neutrality is very important, but you also have to make a stand. There is a right way of doing things and the ISMC has to find the balance between all involved to get things done.

The bigger the company, the bigger the investment done, the more politics are involved.

And somebody might be looking for a scapegoat.

A New Breed

In many different disciplines the Interim Manager is a common appearance. For the financials, the human resources, the IT processes, the customer care. All have their experts in cleaning up.

This is because most departments, where things can get messy, have been around for quite some time.
People have come up and grown out of these departments, and now they use their expertise to troubleshoot and get things back on track.

The discipline of Social Media has not been around long enough for people to already have grown out of it. Many are still learning, and with the current rate of change, we probably always will be learning.

So, it’s the “before” experience that counts, the seniority if you will. Combining years of working in different environments with the (relatively) fresh SoMe learnings.

Has any of you ever been put in a mess to clean up? I would love to hear about you experiences as an Interim Social Media Consultant.