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Getting Started With Social

IBM’s Louis Richardson believes companies should be sure they’re culturally ready to take on social business. To get your organization ready, find a cultural sponsor that can get the message across that the company is a family and needs to hear everyone’s voice.

Here are Richardson’s five steps to becoming a social business:

  1. Get started! People will surprise you with how they use social business tools, so don’t try to figure it all out beforehand.
  2. Find the people who are using social networks and tap into their thoughts and leadership.
  3. Find the contributors—the people who are overwhelmed by their inboxes and those who are the go-to, knowledge people. If we can teach them to answer questions in a more open way, that will cut down on the number of people coming to them. If they start posting links to their work, people will go there. Someone at IBM once told me: “I like working at IBM because I can be as smart as you, just five minutes later.”
  4. Reward the followers—the people who reuse the information. Find those people who have found an article, used it and commented about it and praise them for doing that.
  5. Someone with cultural clout in your organization must lead the charge, saying this is the way we’re going to work because it’s best for you and your creativity. It can’t be someone from IT or even the CIO. Innovation like this isn’t installed; it’s adopted. So look for someone who can lead a cultural change, like the CEO or chief of human resources.
—S.S.S.

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