Social Media as Change Catalyst

Here is an excerpt from an article written by Elizabeth S. Choo, Walter Gossage and Trinity Martin for Talent Management magazine. To check out all the resources and sign up for a free subscription to the TM and/or Chief Learning Officer magazines published by MedfiaTec, please click here.

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When properly designed and deployed, social media can propel an organization through a major change initiative with greater transparency, communication and efficiency.

Most companies understand that they should use social media for marketing. And most organizations are taking advantage of it for recruiting, too. But what about using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube along with messaging and conferencing tools for large-scale organizational change? When properly designed and deployed, they can serve this purpose.

In his book Leading Change, John P. Kotter, a professor of leadership at Harvard Business School, claims that as many as 70 percent of change initiatives in organizations fail to meet expectations. Why? Kotter wrote that companies struggle with organizational change on multiple levels.

For instance, a company rolling out upgrades to a global enterprise system also might be engaged in a major restructuring of functions and leadership teams. Or it might be coping with a difficult cost reduction program while also looking to sell products to new customers as part of a globalization strategy.

Executives can no longer tell their people to adjust to a difficult change program until “things return to normal.” The need to constantly shift and adjust is normal.

Another reason for change failure is related to challenges managing expectations and communication — creating a shared vision, gaining buy-in or monitoring progress. These challenges are well suited to the distinctive features and benefits associated with social media and collaboration tools, such as the ability to connect people quickly, to create opportunities for them to share and learn, and to monitor a collective conversation to see how well a change program is producing its intended benefits.

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Choo, Gossage, and Martin then discuss some ways social media can support effective management of large-scale change. To read the complete article, please click here.

Elizabeth S. Choo is a consultant with management consultancy Accenture. Walter Gossage is a managing director and Trinity Martin is a senior manager within Accenture’s communications, media and technology group.

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