- Dealing with socially awkward or deviant people
Whether you like it or not, socially awkward and socially deviant people are part of life and they will sometimes try to hurt you on purpose or harm you without realizing it. Those same people live in our communities and in our extended tribes. You cannot just avoid the social in business in order to avoid those people – we don’t do that in real life and we should not do it in business. Tribes and communities typically develop an immune system for outliers like that – they ostracize them or they use other social levers to bring them under control. We’ve been hardwired to do that for eons, and have been able to enjoy successful social environments for as long. As a business you have to trust that those same forces will keep the outliers in check, and while temporary hiccups may happen, the long term benefits from embracing the social will definitely outweigh the negative effects.
- Reaching across organizational boundaries and silos
The social works when you can match internal tribes that share a passion, interest or pain with external tribes that are driven by the same motivators. In order to make that work, you have to be willing to reach across organizational boundaries and silos. Those who share that passion, interest or pain that relates to your company may work in any department and at any level of the organization – and if you want to unleash that power you will have to reach across functional boundaries and hierarchical communication channels. You will also have to let go of your organizational boundaries to allow internal and external people to behave as one tribe.
- Letting go of control
Perhaps the hardest thing for executives to do when they embrace the social is letting go of control. We have been professionally trained to control just about everything in business – and when you embrace the social, you have to let go of that. That can be messy, the same way as letting go of control when children become teenagers and move into early adulthood can be messy. But for the same reasons that we do it with our children we need to do it with employees, customers, prospects and detractors. And if you think you can still control things – think again. 60-80% of all products are bought based on information that does not come from your company and without anyone from your company being involved. How do you think you still control the message – you don’t. It can be messy to let go of control, but if you rely on trust as the new currency, the benefits here will again outweigh the pitfalls by a large margin.
Social environments often operate at the edge of chaos – embrace it will all the messiness that comes with it. You have no choice.