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One of the big promises of social technologies is the possibility of boundary-less communication within an organization and across its entire eco-system. Enabling this free flow of knowledge and sharing of ideas can unleash unprecedented levels of collaboration and innovation.
Yet, to ensure that these viral exchanges create value and are beneficial to the larger system, organizations need mechanisms that are preventing damages, may they be intentional or not.
Balancing the conflicting objectives of freedom and control is a tough nut to crack. It is a challenging task that touches structures, mechanisms, processes and culture – the entire hard and soft architecture of an organization.
Letting go and trusting the dynamics of horizontal self-editing networks is as important as creating vertical accountability and decision rules. It is the dialectic interplay of the formal and the informal that leaders need to understand and leverage for continuous strategic and organizational development and change.
Social Media policies, integrity frameworks or leadership values are common examples of architectural designs aiming at framing the deployment of social technologies. Usually these are implemented at an enterprise level via compliance rules crafted by the legal department.
While some of these efforts are useful, they tend to address only a fraction of the challenge as they typically focus on domains a company can control and enforce. Addressing practices, processes and metrics that go beyond the walls of the organization is equally essential as stakeholders that constitute the value of a network are frequently outside the boundary of a compeny. Think about open innovation, customer engagement, supply chain efficiency, talent attraction, and so on.
And policies, frameworks and values are not enough. OSML requires also the design and implementation of new roles that are required to leverage the potential of social technology. Content curators, community builders, social entrepreneurs, network analysts, etc. are roles that historically cannot be found on organizational charts and that require new capabilities and new ways of organizing the workplace.
If you are a senior leader, we would like to hear how you design your organization to take advantage of the opportunities that come with social technologies, and what you think about the importance of this skill. Topics that come to mind are:
From a conceptual point of view, we are interested in discussing questions such as:
These are only examples, designed to inspire contributions. Let’s start the conversation!
Leaders need to make sure that their organizations are designed to encourage self-organized horizontal discourse and exchange.
At the same time they must mitigate the risks of irresponsible use through smart policies and vertical accountability frameworks.