In Chapter 4 we take a look at strategies for tapping the groundswell. This a particularly interesting chapter because it is a fundamental topic that helps us understand how to make sure we take the right steps when planning how we will use a social network strategy in our organization. I particularly like how the chapter starts out with a narrative. I relate to this because I was raised in the technology era where everyone has social media and is accessible online, but I am working in an industry where the people who are in charge of making decisions are mere opposite. They know that times are changing and business is evolving and becoming more dependent on on-line relationships, but something holds them back from taking the plunge and adopting the groundswell. Why is this? After reading and learning about chapter 4, hopefully we gain more insight to how we can make the appropriate moves in our industry to get people onboard to become more involved in the online-business community.
We learn about POST – which is the foundation of groundswell thinking. It is a systematic framework for assembling your plan – which is so far the most important subject in this textbook that will help me to get the baby boomer generation in my construction company onboard with the changes that need to occur. Before I breakdown the POST method, see this attached article for an awesome insight on how to help your members embrace technology. There is awesome information and insight in this article!
How to get your members onboard
Some interesting points I took from this article are:
- Simplify everything
- Tailor new technologies for users
- Don’t be intrusive
- Understand why people are reluctant and focus on changing their views
Now we discuss the POST method and how this helps us think in a way that can help implement the groundswell.
People – This diseases what the customers are ready for. This part touches on how customers will engage, or will they at all? What do they want to see more of and what will the groundswell do to encourage more customer/employee interaction? It is important to do research in this stage to ensure you have the proper facts & research of what it is your customers really want. Do they simply want 24 hour customer service, or do they want a place they can see updates, photos, and news? This will require communication between the organization & the people they deal with on a regular basis.
Objectives – This section helps the organization list out their goals. What is it we want to accomplish? Do we want to use the groundswell to help internal relationships or external? Some of the objectives listed later in the text include listening, talking, energizing, supporting and embracing. If we take these factors and link them directly to your company (construction), we can see how it will help us pursue our objectives.
Strategy – This is a very important part of the POST process because it helps us think about where we want to go with all of this. How do we want things to change? How will we deal with issues that arise? What is it we are really trying to do? This section allows us to think about short term & long term goals and where we want to be after adopting the groundswell. How are we going to measure productivity and success? How will we know if this is helping our company prosper? All of these questions will come into affect when dealing with the strategy section.
Technology – Lastly, what technologies will we need to make our strategy and objectives successful? Will we need to purchase new softwares or applications? Will we just use the internet to connect? Will we use blogs, apps, social media or wikis? Technology continues to evolve and innovate and its important to consider the companies financial situation as well. Communicating with stakeholders to find out what they think should happen will provide a better understanding of what technical resources will be needed to carry out the appropriate strategy.
An important question comes up on page 71, “company strategists knew they had to connect with their customers in the groundswell, they just didn’t know how”
This is the most difficult aspect in my construction industry and in particular my company because I work with several individuals who are much older. It seems as though baby boomers are not as comfortable switching out of their old ways and taking big risks – especially with technology. I think the biggest thing is just educating and informing them on how to monitor and prepare for the risks involve, but most importantly showing them HOW the groundswell can put your company in a position that sets it up for success. “Things are going great now, why change anything” is something us younger people get frequently when proposing more technical interaction with customers. Its almost as though we have to wipe out a persons mentality and replace it with a completely new one. This can be hard…
I think inviting guest speakers in is a GREAT way to kick start the brains of these individuals and shift them into believing that technology can truly make a difference (and even take a huge amount of stress off them). Giving the people who “don’t believe” an opportunity to get comfortable with the groundswell will provide them with the tools and knowledge to act accordingly. I feel like simply expanding their minds and showing them how successful companies can be after starting blogs/social media and interacting online with their customers, they will be that much more likely to hop on board and believe in the process. Here are some ways to help:
- Create a plan that starts small but has room to grow
- Think through the consequences of your strategy
- Put someone important in charge of it
- Use great care in selecting your technology and agency partners
With all of this being said, its also important to understand what potential things could go wrong and how to prepare for this. Strategies are not easy to implement, and getting your entire organization believing in the process is also difficult. If people don’t believe, will it work? My answer is no. Management must be prepared to deal with negative feedback and comments, and perhaps not aligning their strategies and objectives with the right target group. We must remember ITS OKAY TO FAIL! Most success stories do not happen over night, they take time, handwork, dedication, and most of the time – it doesn’t work out the first few times. Its all about maintaining the belief, working hard, and adjusting the strategy accordingly. Things WILL go wrong. (I love this!). But its those companies who push through, make changes, and find ways to make it work that succeed.
We also must remember….adopting the groundswell will fundamentally change how your company relates to its customers & this can be scary. It will require fortitude & negotiations, mistakes will happen, but we must remember to NOT ignore the trend. It will payoff if you take the right steps and believe in yourself. A huge lesson I get from this chapter is NEVER QUIT. No matter what, it will all pay off some way or another if you follow the protocol and ensure you are devoted to making the change. “There is no right way to engage with the groundswell”, but with the effective strategies each company can adopt tactics that are right for its customers. Don’t copy, don’t fool people, don’t be afraid to listen to others, and you will never turn back.
Charlene Li, Josh Bernoff,. (2011). Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies. (expanded and revised edition.). Harvard Business School Press.