Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What Can We Do in The Testing Stage of Social Maturity?

The reading of this week focus on the groundswell transforms. In Chapter 11, it shows the way to transform a company with groundswell. This chapter use the transformation of Dell as an example, and list five macro steps of this process: start small, educate the executives, get the right people to run the strategy, get the agency and technology partners in sync, plan for the next step and for the long term. Chapter 12 talks about the importance of internal groundswell, it uses the Blue Shirt Nation of Best Buy to illustrate the meaning of internal groundswell, and emphasizes the company should concern more about culture and rebels in the transforming process. Chapter 13 explain the social maturity specifically, it talks the common challenges companies face, and the five stages of social maturity. The last chapter looks ahead the ubiquitous groundswell, it is a good end of this book.

An Overview - What Is Social Maturity: 

I would like to talk more about the testing stage of social maturity. First of all, what is social maturity? How to understand social maturity with organizational behaviors?
I think social maturity means the whole process of the groundswell transforming in an organization, and it also means a specific level of the groundswell transforming for an organization. Social maturity include five stages: dormant, testing, coordinating, scaling and optimizing, empowering. The earlier an organization adopts groundswell transforming, the higher level stage it would attain now. So we can divide the organizations into five levels: laggards, late majority, early majority, early adopters and innovators.

Today, we can see the power of groundswell in the market, and the innovators and early adopters would get more benefits from it. However, these organizations would take risks before social media became popular in several years ago. So that early insightful plan is always important for social maturity of an organization, and this plan should be existed in the early stage of social maturity - testing stage:
It's never too late to launch a groundswell transforming! Start to work on the right elements of testing stage, by the right way, and then you will enjoy the benefits of groundswell in the future!

Base on the table of "elements of the stages of social maturity" on page 259 in Groundswell, I would like to analyse the testing stage on 6 perspectives.

Start Groundswell Transforming From Current Experience

In the testing stage, experience is typically in customer applications or employee applications limited to collaboration. These applications are the basic communication tools which can provide the functions for advertising, branding, promotion or internal communication. In most cases, the applications allow people post or comment message on the index of organization. There are 81% of organizations would like to use the applications to listening, and 73% of them would like to use applications to talking. For example, this is the Facebook page of Best Buy, it can be the early application for external communication.

Figure Out How to Use The Resources

Resources are mostly individuals using applications part-time to help do their current jobs in this stage. The using of social media is non-united in this stage, it includes the non-united kinds of application, non-united using objective, and the non-united time to use. After a period of time, the using of application would be coordinated. Recent years, there is a new social media which name is "Wechat" is popular in China, it allow people interact by both text and voice message, for free. In some Chinese organizations (include roommates), people would like to use it to communicate with each other, and to build talking groups to share information in sometime. 

The Nature of Processes 

In this stage, processes are strictly task-oriented. Actually, social media is just a tool for PR and marketing in this stage, but not an indispensable part of organizational communication. If we can feel the benefits of social media in tasks, we should try to promote and integrate it into the general operating, then it would be more stable in our organization.

Talk About Measurement
In the testing stage, measurement is limited to "collecting" activities. For now, measurement is in the basic level, we are "looking at the performance", but we do not implement statistic research about the social media. For example, we are interesting in these information now: the number of likes, viewers, sharing and comments. The right way of measurement helps organization social maturity grows up healthily, it is necessary to hire professionals for measurement jobs, and start to build systemic methods of measurement.

Commitment: We Need The Support form Management!

Support from management is limited, and there is no long-term plan or philosophy in testing stage. The support form management is important, because it provide political power to build completed new social system in an organization. Once we find the opportunity to launch a groundswell transforming in our organization, the allowance of management should come together with the building plan.

The Last Thing, Consider The Culture

In the testing stage, social makes little impact on most employees' day-to-day business. This is the most difficult one to launch groundswell transforming, because the organizational culture is the common value of the members of organization, it is hard to be changed. Groundswell gives us a good advice: let the creative and critical employee to launch groundswell transforming in the organization, but not the senior employees. When the members of the organization can feel the benefits or groundswell, they are ready to over the testing stage of social maturity. 

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