A decision is nothing without action: Céline Schillinger

One of the “things” about Social Business is a (more) open and flatter organisation. This leads to another “thing”; equality. There are laws against discrimination, but that doesn’t automatically mean there is equality.., especially gender equality.

Celine SchillingerCéline Schillinger noticed one day that something was not quite right with her work environment. She noticed that the people who managed and who got promoted were “all the same, all white, all scientists or accountants, all suits and all.., men”.

Her (correct) conclusion was that she had no future in the company, and because of their mono-culture, the company didn’t have a very bright future either.

Companies need to be much more flexible and diverse to cope with modern society.

Old School

Now, as far as I know, there wasn’t really a plan to keep women out of management, although, of course, plenty of decisions have to be made to create a culture like this.

These stem from a (very) old school of thought.., and if nothing or nobody challenges this. Well.., nothing changes.

And in days-of-old this would not have been a problem, but in the Age of Social, it is a non-sustainable situation.

Céline noticed this and stepped up to do something about it.

A Call to Arms

Well, it might not have been that extreme, but it sure had a rebellious effect throughout the company. A movement was born.

Now, I’m not going to recite the entire video, I suggest you watch it, no, I urge you to watch it (you find it at the bottom of the post).

However, I do want to stress the point that any thought or philosophy is nothing without action. You can ponder and meditate on a problem, have meetings and discussions and finally come up with a solution. If this solution is not followed up by action, it’s not really a decision.., it’s just words.

Social Business screams for action.

Another Social Adventure

In the true nature of Social, Céline kicked of a new adventure for many within her company, and not just women, but men too.

With just a single email she set change in motion. A change maybe hoped for (the motivation behind her email was clear), but what happened was not expected. The email was send to the CEO, but shared with 3 female colleagues and they reacted. The email is what they needed to take action. It went viral throughout the company with magnificent consequences.

The Movement

wisp:women in Sanofi PasteurAs with many good revolutions, a movement was born. WiSP: WoMen in Sanofi Pasteur

Both men and women have joined the network which currently holds over 2,400 members. It’s already worldwide and is now expanding beyond the corporate network.

I want to end this post with the same quote Céline ends her talk with. I believe it embodies Social Business in a very special way. The quote is from a WiSP member:

How WiSP changed my life.

I’ve realised how much women share specific ways to behave, such as perfectionism, modesty, which prevents us from pushing ourselves forward, a lack of self confidence. I’ve read interesting articles which helped me develop new skills. I’ve discovered inspiring TED videos, Twitter, and very interesting information that is useful in my professional and personal life. I’ve come to meet many great people from other parts of the group that I wouldn’t have met in my daily life. I’ve made new connections and learned from others. It helped me overcome my fears and act.

So, my advice is; develop your skills and network, embrace social media, and above all.., trust yourself.

The video below was shot at EuroComm 2013.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJUyzQcdR6M]

Social Business is not about Social, it’s about Business. And that’s not always a good thing.

I need to get this off my chest, then I’ll stop with the rants… it’s just been bugging me for a long time.

You see.., I think we’re missing the point. And not by a little bit either. We all know, or should know by now, that the way we live in a non-sustainable society. Meaning, it will end, probably in a very dramatic way.

social business is not about socialSocial Business is probably the best opportunity we have to create awareness and generate responsibility. People need to live more consciously, more awake. But, we’re missing the point and with that, a golden opportunity.

Wind Turbines

A metaphor then: You must have noticed these huge, ugly, noisy mastodons, polluting our horizons and beautiful views.

Although their net-energy is positive, I can’t help thinking about the motivation for building these things. In Holland, in the Flevopolder, farmers get paid to put them up, it’s a hideous sight. The landscape is littered with hundreds of turbines. Different in size and strewn all over the place. There is no ecological motivation behind this.., heck, there is no ecological motivation behind the whole Flevopolder, it’s all economical.

Where I live now (the south of Belgium), a councilman was pushing the placement of a wind farm nearby. Although he didn’t have the authority, and no wind study was made for the location, he almost succeeded in starting the project. Anything else than personal gain is difficult to imagine.

Focussing on generating and storing energy locally (in your home or neighbourhood) is much, much more sustainable. But that would mean, giving up grid connected, chargeable control. And that’s not going to happen.


Talk about a prominent place in society. The biggest supermarket chain in Holland (again Holland? Yes, I’m Dutch, remember?) has replaced it’s “Organic” label for “Pure & Honest”. Very smart, “Organic” is a protected label in The Netherlands. You cannot put it on a label unless it really is 100% organic.

Now that ‘they’ don’t have to worry about the label, they can promote “Pure & Honest” as “with extra care for people, animal, nature or environment produced, grown or bought”. This is, of course, not true.., sadly. All sorts of taste enhancers, E-numbers and animal unfriendly, bio industry elements are found in the products.., and that’s just the things we know about.

They pretend to be social, but they’re really not. Despite their obvious responsibility.

Social Business

By now, I’m sure that many companies implement Social Business to gain an economical advantage. And yes, that’s important. It’s why you run a business, to make money. We have to please the stake- and shareholders.

And companies that sell “Social Business” need to turn a profit too. So, the one is sustaining the other, economically speaking. Both missing the point on real sustainability and societal responsibilities.

I’m generalising here. I’m sure there are those that really do have the individual in mind. That believe changing the every day goings on of employees could make them happy and more engaged in the company, resulting in all sorts of benefits for that company.

And yes, “happy” and “engagement” are quantifiable emotions. I’m sick of people saying these are unrealistic, unmeasurable and non-business terms. They are very real, they are very human, and they also have a very real impact on a business. A happy employee is an engaged employee, an engaged employee is a productive employee. H+E=P

One simple way to quantify this is to just ask.

Talk to them, find out what they think about the company and how it could change for the better.


As with the “organic” label in Europe.., the label “Social Business” should be protected. Social Business Consultants should be certified through an open source qualification program. Proven knowledge and motivation.

“Social Business” is hyping at the moment and companies are sticking the label anywhere it can stick. Either, so they can sell it, or so they can claim to be one. But, SocBiz isn’t a hype, it’s a very real evolution. And if you don’t get it right, say you only focus on a piece of technology, you won’t get there.

If becoming a Social Business prevents your business from expiring, than you can’t just focus on the economical gain. Heck, economical gain and a higher ROI are (very beneficial) by-products of a successful change. They’re part of the plan of course, but not the driving force.

People are.

Mea Culpa

I’m a Social Business Consultant. And when I need to advice a company, the bottom line is, of course, the unavoidable issue; the ROI has to be met.

But, I just love the philosophy behind the whole thing. I even consider myself a Corporate Rebel and I truly believe Social Business can have a (very) positive effect on society. But in order to that, we need to focus on the right elements of Social Business.

Call it societal gain over economical gain. I know.., I know. It’s so scary, letting the reigns loosen up a bit, transferring responsibilities, trust employees or citizens to do the right thing, very scary. But, if we keep fooling them, and we keep fooling ourselves, then we’ll simply won’t get there. We’ll simply never be able to create a (truly) sustainable society.

And if we can’t do that, there is only one other possible outcome.., societal collapse. And it wouldn’t be the first time either.., every other society before us has collapsed, no exception, none have survived the Test of Time and the Trials of Men.

We now have the knowledge and the technology to turn it around, to do it right.., just for once.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you…