Unlike the 1980s and 1990s, the speed of change today is transformative. The cause of this warp speed change: social technologies, according to a July 2012 study, “The Social Economy: Unlocking values and productivity through social technologies,” by the McKinsey Global Institute.
The study states that there are greater than 1.5 billion networking users globally and 80 percent of them regularly interact through social networks. Yet only 70 percent of businesses use social technologies, most on a limited basis. Of those 90 percent acknowledge some benefit but only three percent feel they derive a substantial benefit from social technologies.
There is no doubt that social technologies such as social media, online purchasing, networking, publishing, email, mobile apps, research and simply connecting online have caused sweeping cultural, economic and social change. People get married online, can cause governments to fall and can purchase anything from a golf ball to a house.
The Opportunity: However, social media technologies are swiftly changing and moving into collaboration and content creation rather than just consumption. The opportunity lies in the fact that social technologies are fast becoming an important business tool. The study states that social technologies have enormous potential to:
- Raise productivity of knowledge workers
- Extend the capabilities of high-skill workers
- Streamline communication and collaboration
- Lower barriers within the organization
- Import additional knowledge and expertise from extended networks
All of this can lead to an increase of $900 billion – $1-3 trillion of annual value. The adoption of social technologies on the business level will be driven by the need for innovation, advances in technology, economics and speed. Social technologies provide the never-before available speed and scale of the Internet, zero marginal cost, lowered barriers, and interaction with large or small groups across all geographies and time zones.
Unleash Social Technology: Most people automatically think external communications or connections when considering social media applications to business. But the real value to the business community is internal. Social technology platforms should be applied within to communications, knowledge sharing and collaboration. According to McKinsey, when social media technology is fully implemented, the productivity of interactive workers, high-skill knowledge workers, managers and professionals will increase 20 to 25 percent. The improvement in productivity of these three categories has a domino effect and raises the productivity of the overall business.
Overcoming the Big Obstacle: One might think budget, time, talent or desire might be the obstacle(s) standing in the way of creating a 20-25 percent rise in productivity but no, it the business’ corporate culture. In order to capitalize on such great opportunity, major organizational transformation must also take place. A corporate environment must be created that is filled with trust, respect and equality when it comes to thoughts and ideas – a workplace where the physical, emotional and mental environment is conducive to unleashing the flow of focus and innovation.
A new organizational chart is in order for a business to create the culture necessary to maximize success with the social technology requirements. A new era has emerged from behind 500-year-old Newtonian walls and boxes in the business community: it’s called ORBS. The “orbital effect” demands that a strong vision is in place, requires a nurturing environment that spawns innovation and engages the workforce and customer through the use of soft skills.
The wave of the future has arrived in the form of social technologies. Because of that, transformational change in the organizational structure is a necessity not an option. The “Orbital Effect” works because it implements the same non-restrictive flow of information, connectedness and innovations as do social technologies. Use it and watch your productivity increase, efficiency improve and business thrive.
Pat Heydlauff speaks from experience. She works with organizations that want to create an environment where employees are engaged, encouraged and involved, and with people who want to be in control, anxiety-free and confident. She is the author of the forthcoming book, Engage: How to Lead with Power, Productivity and Promise and Feng Shui: So Easy a Child Can Do It. She can be reached at 561-799-3443 or engagetolead.com.