Sunday, 08 April 2012 00:00

We Don't Need No Stinking Social Media

Rate this item
(0 votes)

Dilbert Cartoon

I need your help. Why is it that as we get older, so many of us lose the desire to learn? Where is the fun in that? A few years ago, I was nearly sucked into it myself—at least for a few minutes. A half-dozen of us were sitting in a coffee shop talking about growing our businesses and conversation turned to Twitter—about its uselessness. As I drove back to my office, I thought, "The six of us ought to go tell the twenty million people using Twitter how foolish they are." With that utterance, I realized how I had been drug into the world of stasis. I spent the subsequent three days immersed in social media, studying Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and numerous other social tools. Now I am perplexed on how to get others to see the value. Let me fill you in on what I have learned about teaching people, maybe you can point out my flaw.

Learning Patterns

This is important to me since I like teaching people. It is my conviction that each time I interact with someone they should receive value from our meeting. Their significance could be through a connection to another person or giving them a tidbit of knowledge. Even through this blog, the goal is to educate—both you and me. I have read about various adoption patterns—ones classifying people as innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards—and I have simpler way to look at the problem. It appears that people can be classified into three broad groups—Facebook Facet, Bring It On Bunch, and Forget It Forum. The two at the opposite ends of that list are most intriguing to me.

The Bring It On Bunch

Surprisingly, the Bring It On Bunch is not the youngest. This group's ages range from 30 to 50. I was expecting it to consist primarily of Gen-X and Gen-Y. The Bring It On Bunch were the Twitter initiates five or more years ago and quickly saw the value of LinkedIn for expanding their network. At that time their age span was 30 to 45. There is something about the 30-year maturation point that transforms people from bagel-eating broadcasters to knowledge-sharing networkers.

Forget It Forum

The Forget It Forum spans a very wide age range from 20 to 80 with two bubbles in the undereducated twenty-somethings and the that's-beneath-me 50 plus crowd. They have abandoned learning because they seem to believe that they know everything important. Be it that they are pumping gas, eyeing the next C-level position, or somewhere in between, they are the ones that will be lost if their positions are outsourced. The Forget It Forum is disinterested and, possibly, incapable of learning anything knew. They advance and excel in politics rather than knowledge. Their prejudices and biases impede their advancement.

The Facebook Facet

The Facebook Facet is almost exclusively under 30. They want to share their lives and rarely worry about others. They are far more interested in instant gratification than exploring new concepts for long-term gain. Not everyone under thirty is this way and many leave the Facebook Facet to join the Bring It On Bunch around the age of thirty.

Five Hundred Cups of Coffee

What makes a 55 year old IT geek, project manager, business owner, grandfather, with a BS in chemistry (heavy on the BS) qualified to make such statements? Five hundred cups of coffee, 100 lectures, classes, and workshops, and 25 years of figuring out that rescuing projects and organizations required in-depth understanding of people and culture. It had nothing to do with process and technology. The most valuable? The 500 cups of coffee. Sharing an hour slice of your life, finding out what value you can give, and watching people's reaction when you give them something for free is a world of education. The reactions are as you might expect—Bring It On Bunch, "Thanks, what can I do for you?"; Forget It Forum, "Yes, but did you know..."; and The Facebook Facet, "Cool. Hey, let's ride bikes!"

My Quandary

Recently, I was talking to a Bring It On kind of guy. He wanted to meet since I will most likely be on the board of a local IT professional organization. After my desire to run for a position was announced—I am unopposed—I gained instant friendship with every IT products and services vendor (aka Facebook Facet) within a hundred mile radius. But, I digress. He was not a vendor and his focus was far more altruistic. He wanted to increase the organization's social media presence and, by doing so, educate the membership. He feels it is incumbent upon the organization to bring IT executives into the social media world kicking or screaming. (I think he meant they would be kicking and screaming not us. I will ask for clarification.) I was hesitant, to say the least. Having raised three kids, I know the reception to unsolicited educational suggestions.

The Big Question: Educating the Unwilling

With all my zeal and use of social media, knowing the value that it brings, and aware that most companies enter this world despite the efforts of IT, it was me that was dragging my feet on expanding the horizons. Am I a curmudgeon thinking it is impossible teaching the Forget It Forum a new tool? The old adage sticks in my brain—do not try to teach a pig to dance, you only annoy the pig. Therefore, I am reaching out to the greater social media world for some collective advice with one simple question:

What method should you use to get people, especially IT leaders, who are in denial of social media's value to spend the time to understand its breadth and depth?

Read 6451 times

Related items

  • Strategy-Execution Gaps

    The statistics on strategy execution are dismal:

    • 59% of middle managers fail at resolving conflicts in corporate strategy.
    • 45% of middle managers cannot name one of the top five corporate goals.
    • 64% of cross department/functional issues are poorly resolved.

    And maybe as you could expect from this:

    • 53% of companies cannot react timely to new opportunities.

    You do not need to be a rocket scientist to know that this trajectory is not going to launch most companies’ latest strategic plans successfully. In fact, these data might make you feel that middle management would be better suited as test dummies for the next generation of manned space-vehicle. Granted, the data show there is a dearth of leadership in middle management, but executive tier has a culpable hand.

  • Process Mapping

    Process is at the core of any business. It makes work predictable, repeatable, and transferable. Without it we cannot scale our businesses. However, process can be a bane to making progress. Processes that work for a $10 million company have difficulties supporting a $30 million company. Trying to scale them to a $300 million company will not only fail but not address the issues that larger companies have that were never dreamt of in a smaller organization. Processes need to be discarded, revamped, and built—all of that without creating an overburdening bureaucracy.

    Anytime you need to go someplace, you first have to know where you are. Processes are never static and your company's current state is probably far from where you think it is. Hence, the first step is mapping out you company's current state followed by defining the future state. This is more than a logical map of the process; it must also include physical maps. Whether your process is solely to provide a service (say, website development) or physical (say, manufacturing) there are logistical issues that complicate the process flow. Without fully understanding those nuances, future state processes will not reach the desired efficiencies.

    For more information about process mapping fill out the form to the left and we will get in touch with you.

  • Success vs Culture

    The other day a Latvian student contacted me for my views the connection between culture and success criteria—an important and intriguing topic. After working in Taiwan, Singapore, Korea, Japan, Israel, United States, and Canada, I wear many scars of both blatant and subtle cultural violations. I also know that within a culture one person's success is often another person's failure. So, after dispelling concerns about clicking on some random email link, I completed her survey (please feel free to take it yourself). In the process, I struck up a friendship with the student, Kristine Briežkalne, who is studying at Riga International School of Economics and Business Administration . She has some interesting views and presented me with a Venn diagram showing four frames to a project (business, client, project management, and growth perspectives) and how they intersected. As the diagram is part of her Master's thesis, I will let you ponder the how to label the overlapping areas (an eye-opening exercise).

  • Kill The White Knight

    There is a reason we do not teach classes on fixing failing projects. Many a cynic feels that we simply do not want to teach our trade, however, our reason is far nobler—we should be teaching prevention rather trying to create white knights to save the day. It is the same philosophy as building a fence at the cliff's edge rather than an emergency room at its base. Our language is replete with idioms telling us to look past the symptom and address problems at their root cause. 'An ounce of prevention versus a pound of cure' or 'a stitch in time saves nine.' Please, feel free to supply your own in the comments. Unfortunately, most of our businesses loathe this philosophy, waiting to address an issue until it is irrefutably broken.

  • Comparing Organizational Change Management Models

    A few weeks ago, I set out to write a post on the comparison of various organizational change management (OCM) methodologies and realized that would be a disservice to my readers. It would simply drag you down the path of implementation while failing to focus you on building the foundation. The pressure was too much and I have relented to numerous requests on making that comparison. The caveat is that juxtaposing these models is not comparing different varieties of oranges or even apples and oranges; we are surely comparing the peel to the fruit they contain. Hence, comparing methodologies like Kotter's model (the peel), Prosci's ADKAR (the core), and General Electric's Change Acceleration Process (the whole fruit) need a different approach.

Leave a comment

Filling Execution Gaps

Available Worldwide

Filling Exectution Gaps cover

Filling Execution Gaps is available worldwide. Below are some options.


PG DirectLogo
Limited Time Price $20.99
Amazon logo
Book or Kindle
Flag of the United States Canadian Flag Flag of the United Kingdom Irish Flag Deutsche Flagge
Drapeau Français Bandiera Italiana PRC flag
Japanese flag
Bandera de España
Flag of India
Bandera de México
Bandeira do Brasil
Flag of Australia
Vlag van Nederland
DeG Press Logo
Barnes and Noble Logo
Books a Million Logo
Booktopia Logo
Worldwide: Many other
book sellers worldwide.

Rescue The Problem Project

Internationally acclaimed

Image of RPP

For a signed and personalized copy in the US visit the our eCommerce website.

Amazon logo
Buy it in the United States Buy it in Canada Buy it in the United Kingdom
Buy it in Ireland Buy it in Germany Buy it in France
Buy it in Italy Buy it in the PRC
Buy it in Japan
Book sellers worldwide.

Upcoming Events

Other's References

More Info on Project Recovery

Tell me More!

Please send me more information
on fixing a failing project.