How to use social media for change management

How to use social media for change management

Posted by Torben Rick | December 26, 2010 | Change Management
Megaphone - Impact of social media on consumer behavior

Strong organizational cultures help companies operate efficiently and effectively because individual behaviors and interactions are aligned with organizational values.

On the other hand, in firms with weak cultures and little alignment between organizational values and behaviors, culture is nothing more than a bureaucratic barrier to effectiveness.

Because organizational culture influences our automatic and intuitive responses to everyday business situations and decisions, it powerfully impacts performance and profitability.

Cultural change – or any process of change management – is about people

In its essence, cultural change – or any process of change management – is about people. It is a process of “unfreezing” old attitudes, values and beliefs and “refreezing” new attitudes, values and beliefs. It must happen on the individual, departmental, and organizational level.

When attempting to shape culture, business leaders must develop a clear strategic vision, model the cultural change by “walking the talk”, consistently and constantly repeat the vision, and reinforce the change by modifying organizational structures, policies, and procedures in a manner that supports “the new way of doing things”.

How can social media be used to get the ball rolling?

Social media platforms are ideal mechanisms to facilitate change because much of change management boils down to ongoing conversations and dialogue in a company. How can social media be used to get the ball rolling and lead the change necessary for your organization?

  • Get a blog – A blog is a great way to reach people. Sure, meeting face-to-face is the best and it’s limiting. Leverage the power of a blog to extend your influence
  • Be transparent – You can’t tell people everything. But you can be real
  • Tell stories – Nothing, really nothing, beats a good story
  • Engage and collaborate – Ask questions on your blog. Answer questions on your blog. Command and control style management is out. Welcome input!
  • Take polls on your blog – Surveys do serve the purpose of getting a quick read so you know where to focus your time and energy
  • Don’t get spooked – Expect that some employees will respond negatively. It’s likely other people that support the change will respond on your behalf
  • Demonstrate it – Nothing is more powerful than seeing it with your own eyes. Use it to capture the reasons why change is needed. Use it to capture what people think about the change – especially employees that are well connected and respected in your organization
  • Get support – Work through the well connected. People in your organization talk to each other. They are influenced by each other. So every person that supports the change is progress. Ask these employees to be a guest blogger and ask them to write about the change
  • Recognize those who get it – Write about these employees on your blog. Trust me – a blog post that recognizes an employee will not only set an example for what you want to see – it will build loyalty

Social media provide leaders with a new opportunity

Social media are full of potential as change management  tools, ideally suited for the processes of listening, talking, sharing information, community building, strengthening networks, and generating buzz. Social media provide leaders with a new opportunity to root strategic vision in organizational dialogue and to shape organizational culture in ways that improve performance.

use social media for change management

Infographic: Top 10 ways social media can facilitate change management

While organizations wade into the rising social media tide, they should put aside the stalled debate on corporate policy, and stop asking how they should limit and control social media. Instead they should start asking how they can make social media bigger in their organization by considering how social media platforms can help achieve business objectives beyond marketing: shaping company culture, strengthening change management initiatives, improving execution of corporate strategy, facilitating corporate communication, and increasing employee engagement.

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About The Author

Torben Rick

Experienced senior executive, both at a strategic and operational level, with strong track record in developing, driving and managing business improvement, development and change management. International experience from management positions in Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.

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