Is your culture ready for social media?

Installing Web 2.0/social media tools is easy. Realizing the benefits from them might not be, depending on a company’s culture.

Steve Radick has a good post over at Social Media Strategery (say that three times fast) where he poses 10 questions to assess whether an organizational culture can support what social media enables.  Good questions all.

  1. Are employees discouraged from contacting people outside of their chain of command?
  2. Are employees discouraged from challenging authority?
  3. Is risk-taking rewarded or punished?
  4. Are employees rewarded for collaborating with other colleagues or for authoring/producing original work?
  5. Do your employees have regular access to the Intranet?
  6. Does your leadership value the feedback of employees?
  7. Are employees prohibited from speaking externally without prior permission?
  8. Is the contribution and sharing of intellectual capital part of the employees’ regular routine?
  9. What’s more valued, entrepreneurship or following orders?
  10. Do employees derive more value from networking with colleagues or from using the Intranet?

The risk of rigid corporate cultures: talent suck

What’s especially interesting to me is that if a company doesn’t value contributions, risk, networking and entrepreneurship, what will happen to the company in the next three years? Can organizations stay relevant if they are this rigid? Unlikely — especially in any industry where talent is at a premium. (And that is most. This recent Business Week article, “The Global Talent Crisis,” is especially insightful about the issue.)

A communications professional recently asked me for advice on where to start with social media considering that her CEO doesn’t value communications, never mind “this new stuff.”  (The CEO’s words.)  My advice to her was to get a new job at a different company. If senior management doesn’t want to empower employees and collaborate with customers, there was little she could do. And yet, the longer she goes without social media experience, the more difficult it will be for her to  advance professionally.

Creative, innovative talent will not tolerate the old command-and-control corporate culture. It’s too suffocating an experience, too difficult to learn new skills, and bad for career development.