Once again Dilbert serves as an unexpected source of insight for building an effective enterprise social network behind the company firewall.
Dilbert points out the obvious problem with the stalled “Project Unicorn” by telling his boss….
To which his boss replies….
While the executives in Dilbert’s world may think “there’s no time for substance when you’re at the top”, the real world executives we work with everyday know that substance is critically important.
If we are going to create meaningful social business content within our companies social networks, we need to keep three best practices in mind
- 1) Relentlessly Focus on Adding Business Value: Every activity of your company’s social network should be tightly aligned with contributing to increased business value. Examples may include a dynamic wiki post that serves as a single source of truth for a pipeline of sales deals for a critical product line or a discussion forum that helps employees quickly answer common HR questions. The key principle is to seek to add content to your enterprise social network that drives either top line or bottom line savings. If you can’t identify business growth or savings in your content, then it should go the way of “project unicorn” and die.
- 2) Create a Constant Feedback Loop for Users: “But how do I determine if content add business value?” The answer to this reasonable question is closer than you think – ask the users of your enterprise network and (gasp!) your end customers. You must reinforce the importance of adding business value by encouraging a healthy degree of criticism from all users and external customers. Through various channels – on-line and off-line – ask employees and customers to provide constructive criticism of the business value of your social content by asking “How does this content help us either drive sales or save cost?”. Granted you may not be able to allow your customers to see all of the internal content, but you can still get helpful feedback by describing the content to them and actively seeking to understand what will add value for them.
- 3) Remember Social is One of Many Channels: Keep the value of your social enterprise content in context. If you encourage creating content that drives business value and reinforce the value of such content through a healthy feedback loop, you will well be on your way to creating business relevant content. However, never forget that the information captured on your social network constitutes only a fraction of the information pulsing within and into your organization. The social network should help capture critical business content, but is only one of the channels through which the information is captured. The network can never replace face to face brainstorming sessions with your team, the creative genius of a subject matter expert or direct customer feedback.
Relevant content is critical to the value of any social network and the social networks behind company firewalls are no exception. If we keep these three best practices in mind, we will well position our companies for creating content that adds business value. The sooner we can encourage the creation of such content, the quicker our executives and key stakeholders will see that there is indeed always “time for substance”.
For your further amusement the full cartoon strip is below or you can see it here on the Dilbert site.