Life is a journey, isn't it?
Back in August 2007, I started sharing with you how I and a few others embarked on a journey to transform our company into a 2.0-savvy enterprise.
Now, almost two years later, it's almost time for me to move on to another role at my company.
But before I close off this chapter, I wanted to share a few final thoughts with everyone.
So, What's Going On?
It's all good -- really.
At the start, I was asked to put a strategy and several efforts in motion to get this whole social media proficiency thing off the ground and moving in the right direction. I did that.
Thanks to the efforts of many passionate people at my company, I can honestly say "mission accomplished".
Sure, there's always more to do -- in some ways we've only just begun.
But there's no denying that my company is a fundamentally different place in April 2009 than it was in August 2007 when it comes to being a "2.0" company.
We've got many thousands of people actively collaborating and sharing on our internal platform. Not only is it successful beyond our wildest imagination, we can't imagine getting business done without it.
We've graduated dozens of external bloggers and literally hundreds of "unofficial brand managers" from this platform. You can see them out there -- in force -- every day of the week. No one could ask for anything more.
We've taken that momentum and created our external community platform initiative, and it too has enjoyed great success so far.
But that's just the surface stuff. When you really look closely, there's far more interesting things starting to happen.
Subtle -- But Profound --- Changes Abound
When most people at our company think about process, or collaboration, or engagement -- they're now starting to think about things in 2.0 ways. It shows up in just about every conversation these days.
As we look at different staffing plans across the company, we're starting to see more job descriptions for "community developer" and "community evangelist". To me, this represents a structural change in how people are thinking about resources -- and strategies -- going forward.
Our new "community college" (coursework regarding how to design and build a community) is now extremely popular internally. I think the people teaching this material will be busy for quite a while!
Our investment pattern in marketing and other business functions has signficantly shifted. There's far less spent on traditional collaboration and process, and far more effort invested into learning how to do things the new way.
One small (large?) example: we're a product company, so it's all about the launch. You wouldn't try to accomplish a major launch at my company anymore without a detailed "social plan".
As I write this, we're planning a humongous product launch tomorrow, April 14th. About 50% of the total launch effort went into 2.0 stuff. That's big, if you think about it.
I'm very proud of the fact that our executive management has learned to become very comfortable with the 2.0 management ethic. People are now quite comfortable publicly disagreeing with each other without being disagreeable.
Communications and engagement have become much more transparent and open. The org chart isn't what it used to be!
And when we have the inevitable "issues", there's a willingness to work through various pros and cons, rather than the instinctive "shut it down" from yesteryear.
There's no valid excuse anymore to not knowing what's going on across the company. In the past, many people felt it was the company's job to make sure that they knew what was going on; now that responsibility has been shifted to the individual.
Our efforts in social media proficiency have started to transform our corporate culture and leadership style in an extremely positive and progressive way. That's very cool when you think about it.
Who Gets The Credit?
We all do.
Sure, I had a lot to do with it at the beginning, but this was no solo act. My job was only to come up with a plan and get things started. The small handful of helpers we started with became dozens of helpers over time. These then became hundreds of helpers and then literally thousands upon thousands.
We call them the "social people".
They're always out there sharing, contributing, starting a conversation, proposing a new thought, inviting people to chat about what they care about. They're the "connectors" in our company -- inside and out.
And now we've given them tools and a supportive environment to weave their magic.
More To Do!!
We're not resting on our laurels.
For example, we're still in dire need of an underlying content architecture that spans multiple domains in our world. Sure, we've got some things working, but the world will need better solutions here.
We've all lashed up our own "knowldge management" environments -- RSS readers, Tweetdeck, Google Alerts -- we all need our own 360-degree radar screen and mega-cross-posting cockpit for this new era. Better tools for our new information workers are still sorely needed.
For every business process we've begun to impact, there are still dozens more to go. For every passionate contributor at our company, there are still many more to attract and engage.
We never got a good handle on hard metrics, either. In all fairness, once people saw what we were doing, nobody really cared too much about that topic -- so why work to better understand numbers that weren't really needed or wanted? I don't think others will be so lucky in this regard.
But -- make no mistake -- we've started something very big and very visible, and there's no turning back now -- no matter what happens, or who is involved.
Good people are involved across the company now.
So, What Am I Doing Now?
For people who know me, I have this pattern of being attracted to really big ideas that are poorly understood but really important.
That's what got me into this social media stuff in the first place -- it was a really big idea, poorly understood and inarguably very important.
But, over time, most everything I work on matures and evolves. More people get engaged. The core issues get better understood by more people. Momentum builds, success becomes more visible.
And, as a result, there's less need for a person like me to be directly engaged.
And, at the same time, I have the pleasure of working in an industry (information technology) where there is no shortage of big ideas that are poorly understood but really important.
So I find myself being drawn in to work on the next Big Thing. One thing I've always believed -- don't deny your true nature. Moving from topic to topic is the only way I've been able to get through this thing called "career" without going insane from boredom.
Unfortunately, I can't be all that public with regards to what I'm working on now. You can probably get a few hints from my other blog if you're really curious.
To All Of You On Your Own Journey ...
I continue to meet people who read this blog, and have decided to embark on their own personal journeys at their respective companies.
To all of you -- godspeed. I will always look back at the last two years as one of the coolest -- and most significant -- organizational tasks I have ever undertaken.
And I hope you do better than I did!