The Rock That A Social Business Is Build Upon


Perhaps you have been reading this blog for quite some time, and you can’t quite figure out what’s this blog is about. I probably talk about too many things that I confuse you, dear reader. Fret not, the day of reckoning is here. I’m going to share the ties that bind the vast topic that  I have been talking for the past four years. The one thing that unites topics in this blog.

First thing first, you are probably wondering about what do these terms have in common: social media, social intranet, social business/organisation, social collaboration, knowledge management (KM), and gamification?

Well, the answer is (drum-roll please) people! 

Pardon me if the answer seems so obvious. I know. I have ranted about how the KMers shouldn’t just emphasise on people just for the sake of talking about it. Putting people at the centre of all the big terms mentioned above requires action. Action makes the biggest difference.

But how should you act? What can you do to make people at the centre of your action? I have been mulling about this question for some time, and finally I had an epiphany recently. No it’s not about technology. And social technology, or user experience (UX) doesn’t quite answer the big question.

Chris Brogan has been talking about “human business” for a long time. And it finally cross my thick skull that Chris is right. It’s all about nurturing human relationship! That’s the whole point of having social media, social intranet, social business/organisation, knowledge management, and gamification.

The commonality between my opinion and Chris’ ends here, however. The “human business” (i.e. social business) that I’m referring to, is beyond than just social media or having a great conversation with people.

The social business that I’m referring here, is about creating and maintaining the whole ecosystem to support relationships within an organisation.

Social Business = Ecosystem within an organisation that supports relationship with yourself and relationship with others.

There are two kinds of relationship that needs to be nurtured and supported for every employee in every organisation:

  1. Relationship with yourself. (Also known as personal mastery or emotional intelligence).
  2. Relationship with others. (Also known as social intelligence).

Why do bosses need to care about the two relationships? Because helping people to nurture and manage the two relationships can impact business bottom-line big time.

Zappos helps their people to manage the two relationship by getting the new hires to think about themselves (i.e. whether they really want to work in Zappos), and inculcating great company culture such that people can have a great working relationship with one another.

A healthy relationship with yourself will lead to a happier (and a more productive) you. You will be motivated and engaged in your work. And you will have a more resilient mindset – which would boost your capability to bounce back from setbacks at work and in personal life.

While a healthy relationship with others will also lead to (surprise!) a happier you and those who work with you. Naturally, the level of trust would increase and people feel comfortable sharing their knowledge, or providing constructive feedback, via social technologies, i.e. social media and social intranet.

Building the two relationships is critical for the success of social business. Resilient employees (people who have achieved personal mastery) can build healthy relationship with other employees, customers, and partners. This could lead to co-creation on problem-solving, innovation, and productivity.

Managing relationships is the rock that social business is build upon.

So if you are thinking to transform your business to be a social business, think about how you can help people to have a healthy relationship with themselves and others. Reflect on this, will you?

Wishing all reader Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2013!

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