"Now look at them yo-yos. That's the way you do it.
You play the guitar on the MTV.
That ain't workin. That's the way you do it.
Money for nothin' and chicks for free."
— Dire Straits (Lyrics from eLyrics.net)
Evolution is not easy. It's rough on the evolving species and it's devastating to the species left behind. We are experiencing this in our push for a social workplace. Today I got a note pointing me to a slide show called Workers Get Pushback for Using Social Tools. Is it any wonder? When we hear about social tools in the work place it's rarely good news. We hear about employers afraid of the untold damage done by unfiltered statements by workers about their business. We hear about lives and workplaces torn apart by what happens in Facebook. We hear about the hours of time spent by employees in their social accounts when they should be working. And now I'm supposed to make social a bigger part of my business? You first!
Of course, the news feeds on negativity. We don't hear about the millions of people who were not murdered yesterday. We don't hear about the transportation that reached its destination without incident. We don't hear about the people who simply had a nice day and then went to bed for an undisturbed sleep. Sensational sells news, and when everything you hear is sensational you start to believe that it's commonplace. Weird, huh?
The Dire Straits song that I quoted (which has a great, classic MTV video which everyone should see at least once in their lives) is from the perspective of some appliance movers and installers who look at the lives of musicians and say "That ain't workin'." Of course, there is a lot of work involved to be a famous musician, effort that most of us can't even imagine. The issue is that the installers have a specific definition of what counts as work. They don't see the musicians doing those things. I don't know about you, but I can relate. I work with some people who see "proper connection" as putting on a tie and gathering in a conference room. An on-line chat doesn't appear productive to them. Of course, they don't seem to relate to the entrepreneur who is wearing twelve different hats at once and doing everything they can to squeeze every bit of productivity out of every minute of every day with little to no assistance.
I have been working to turn my work day into a more social experience. It's a very strange thing compared to my past career because sometimes it doesn't feel like working. I interact with people and answer questions and help solve their problems. It feels much more like the sort of interaction I have with colleagues over a lunch than the sort of formal, conference-driven activity I've done in the past. Some of the repetitive nature of forwarding materials around and aggregating feedback from all the varied responses has dropped away. Rather than reading copies of copies of copies of previous emails looking for the bit that is the current response have turned much more into a natural conversation.
Here's a webinar on social business that was posted by my colleague, Daryl Pereira. You can see his original page or just watch it here. The concepts shown here are basic, but essential elements to why social business is future business. It is working, even if it sometimes feels effortless and fun.