Change Management Burn Out: When Social Doesn’t Work

In addition to the M&M barrier (misuse and mis-perception), a second barrier that prevents  social networks from adding real business value is change management burn out.

What Does Burn Out Look Like?

In this scenario, employee participation on internal social sites is actively encouraged, but when the change management barrier rears its ugly head it stops any momentum of business value dead in its tracks.  Employees have a lot of head knowledge about the “strategic importance” of internal social tools, but fail to actively use this knowledge to engage in any actions to use social tools.

The social tools at such companies may be chalked full of content that is at best very transactional in nature (think Web 1.0 organizational charts and dry department materials for down load).  In a worst case scenario, users may even refuse to use the tool at all because legacy file sharing platforms and email are sufficient for their current collaboration needs.

Where Does it Come From?

This change management burn out is typically in companies that have already cycled through numerous “revolutionary” collaboration tools.  In the end, veteran employees (who often hold the most valuable best practices and institutional knowledge in the company) largely opt out of actively using social tools.  They are highly skeptical of both the longevity and legitimate business value of social tools.

Community Question: What Can You Do?

Have you run into this “change management” burn out?  If so, how did you overcome it to add value for your business?


What We’re Reading: The Social Employee

On our respective night-stands this week is Cheryl and Mark Burgess’ The Social Employee: How Great Companies Make Social Media Work: Success Lessons from IBM, AT&T, Dell, and Cisco on Building a Social CultureI’m looking forward to understanding the thinking and the methodology the Burgesses use: I remain incredibly skeptical about social media experts who lack experience dealing with wider enterprise issues. Joab, a Cisco employee, is going to do a reality check on the Burgesses’ assessment of Cisco’s success with social media. His experiences at work are what inspired him to begin delving into the subject of social companies. Needless to say, he’s a bit skeptical himself.

Either way, it should be interesting. We’ll let you know what we think.


Joab: Go Social At Work

Our own Joab Meyer writes eloquently about how individuals inside organizations need to reach out to each other to strengthen internal ties. We talk a lot here about how so much of internal social media needs to be top-down, management enabled, and structurally supported. But if you are a junior member of an organization, or if you’ve got no control over the social media structure of your company, internal social starts with you.