The biggest process transformation so far relates to the structural changes I described above. We’ve got quite a bit of it licked fairly rapidly because our technology partner had anticipated some of our needs – it seems we’ve not been the only ones thinking hard about social business.
Obviously we have a very long road ahead of us. The idea that we might collate and synthesize insight and knowledge from all influence flows in combination remains little more than that, an idea. We have greatly expanded our social analytics, measurement and workflow capabilities though, and we’re using our enterprise social network much more aggressively.
In particular, we are tweaking mechanisms for identifying expertise that might have been under-appreciated to date; making communication more open and accessible; seeing if teams might assemble organically; and making it all more searchable (looking for an answer) and discoverable (maintaining awareness).
John is heads down in some vendor communities teasing out best practice that should get us in better shape to execute our vision in the coming years. It should prepare us to take full advantage of the new components as they emerge, and to do so quickly.
He talks a lot about resource description frameworks and linked data, if these mean anything to you. Ask your IT people. Actually, buy them a coffee – they’re your new best friends so make it a good one.
It was exactly two months since the away day, and we all reconvened. I could sense the anticipation.
We started by reviewing our business goals and testing the strategies we were currently executing to see how they might benefit from our new vista. And we defined our influence objectives:
- Whose opinions and behaviors are we seeking to influence and how?
- What opinions would we like them to hold and how would we like them to behave?
- How are we seeking to be influenced and by whom?
- What does success look like and how do we intend to measure it?
We answered the first three of these at a high level at first. Obviously, we couldn’t answer the last in full just yet as metric design requires an understanding of the tactics to be employed, and we couldn’t define the tactics until we’d developed the strategy.
We distilled our influence strategy, namely the influence processes we felt would give us serious competitive advantage if we became prodigious at them.
Interestingly, our recently acquired appreciation of the nature of complexity and big data meant we had to recognize that if prioritizing some influence flows meant entirely neglecting others then we were heading down a rocky road. Therefore, one of our strategies involves our striving to collate and synthesize insight and knowledge from all influence flows in combination. And I can tell you now we won’t have this down pat any time soon!
Without giving too much away (although we have presented all of this to our partners and suppliers and channel, we’re still adjusting to being open in the fullest sense), other strategies encompass social analytics, CRM, internal communications, greater collaboration with our suppliers and partners and resellers and customers and anyone else come to that, improved digital capture of workshops and meetings, improved capabilities and revised policies for data and digital asset management, and expansion of our enterprise social network.
Having said “without giving too much away”, you shouldn’t be greatly interested in the detail here anyway simply because your business isn’t Attenzi. As you’ll know, no part of our influence strategy is necessarily relevant to your organization.
I posted my first personal notice to Attenzi’s social network:
“Vincenzo’s will have the new season’s #asparagus in by the weekend. Any fellow asparagus fans fancy dinner there Saturday? Pleasure, not business.”
Yet I had hesitated for at least two minutes before clicking ‘post’. It felt right – we’re all just people right? – and yet weird – who’s going to want to be seen to hang out with the CEO voluntarily on a Saturday evening? Would they be seen by colleagues to be sucking up? What if they felt they had to? What if no-one responded?!
Temporary panic over, and the table for two became a table for four.
Tom (HR) loves his steamed, unadorned but for a drizzle of olive oil. Mary (Procurement) grows her own, although hers wouldn’t be ready for another week and a half – and a week and a half later I found a lovely bundle of spears on my desk. And Gurdev (Quality Control) is a vegan foodie with an interest in the chemistry of cooking. (Apparently, boiling water pops cells on the surface of asparagus making perfectly cooked asparagus a brighter green. But over-boiling causes the cells to shrink and release an acid, making for a much less appetizing grey.) I got him and Vincenzo talking. Vincenzo took Gurdev into his kitchen between dinner and dessert to explain an idea he had to make it easier to clean a cooker.
Despite being more social than professional, I learned a bit more about what Attenzi means to the people that make the company what it is.
I asked Gurdev how we deal with customer ideas. He didn’t think we had a formal process.