Just yesterday, MIT Sloan in collaboration with Deloitte released a study, “Social Business: What Are Companies Really Doing?” that highlights the growing importance of social business initiatives. What I found most interesting was the view and perceptions from the C-Suite.
According to the research, C-level executives vary considerably in their perceptions about the value of social business to their organizations today. On average, and across all industries in the study, CEOs, presidents, managing directors, board members and CMOs are most likely to perceive social business as an important business initiative today. CEOs are twice as likely as CFOs and nearly twice as likely as CIOs to view social technologies as important right now. Below is the breakdown.
Despite their differences regarding its importance today, 70% of the executive respondents believe that social business will be important to their organization in three years. This suggests that many executives regard social business as neither a threat nor a passing fad – and perhaps they just need to understand the business value before making any significant investments.
Now here is the good news. Executives are beginning to see the value of social business and are talking about it. The bad news is that it’s just words. Will they continue just talking about it or will they take the appropriate steps to start transforming their organizations – starting with themselves first. And, is 3 years too long to wait?
I have said this before and I will say it again.
For any social business initiative to actually work, company leadership has to change their behaviors – the way they work, they way the communicate and they way the lead. What bugged me about this study was that it was mainly focused on social technologies (like the mere act of deploying Jive or Lithium will suddenly change the business). In my view, technology does not change a person. Change has to come from within. There has to be a burning desire to move the organization forward with social embedded in its DNA. The beliefs, values and characteristics need to change if they want the rest of the organization to imitate those social behaviors. Perhaps this is one reason why 70% of social business projects fail, as reported in this report.
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