Organizations, the Social Web Begs. Break the Silos.

4 Mar

In an ActionLab® on Web content modelling, I asked the participants to form themselves into groups following their organizational chart. It was easy for the participants to come together structured as function units in the organization.

Once each participant was settled into his/her respective group, I posed a question: If we are to engage our Web users or customers in one topic that the organization holds dear and that which captivates our users’ or customers’ minds, who among you then are in for the engagement?

A third of the participants stood up and I asked them to step forward.

After being asked what they would bring into the engagement, in this case relevant information they can share that builds on the topic, five scenarios had emerged from this group:

  • 70% claimed they have information to share;
  • 10% pointed to those who remained seated as the source of the information they need to have to engage customers and users,
  • 2% cannot promptly say what they could share or where the source of information they need to share would have to come from,
  • 18% gave no reply, and;
  • 100% said nothing about any person in the group being a source of relevant information to bring into the topic.

Such is the framing in organizations, the way most of them are, now. Structured into compartments according to function, people’s interactions are silo-bound. And they ascribe their sources of  information as emanating from within their function silos. The interactions are vertical, up-down, not at all times horizontal across functions.

Org-chart2-mikecolibraro-thinkbrownstonesinc
Lost in Organization*: no truer can be seen in how organizations are graplling with the Social Web.

The function of a unit reflected in a chart becomes the  framework for the way people engage people–in and out of the organization.In adopting the Social Web, have dialogs within the organization first. Breaking down  silos would be the first step toward the rewards of social-led innovations in the organization.

* Much thanks to Mike Colibraro of Think Brownstone Inc. for the image in Phil Charron’s think blog post “Why Don’t You Publish Your Org Charts?”

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One Response to “Organizations, the Social Web Begs. Break the Silos.”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A Golden Rule Going Social with Social Media « Where's The Sauce? - March 6, 2011

    […] Organizations that adopt social media may employ the best and brightest people. A lot has done it. And many businesses have deployed good social media marketing efforts.  But in many other organizations, people and strategy may be hamstrung by their own organizational inertia, multilayered hierarchies, cumbersome decision processes, lack of focus, setting off-tangent or mis-aligned goals, or simply having little perspective to tackle the complexities to take on a culture that promotes successful use of Social Media: being open or cutting across function silos. […]

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