David Kirkpatrick, the author of The Facebook Effect has written a superb article titled “The Social Power and the coming corporate revolution”. This article was published in the September 2011 issue of Forbes and I have used snippets from the article in this post (And you guessed it right. Reading old issues of business magazines is indeed my pastime!). However, I will disagree with Kirkpatrick on the premise that social media has already made its impact. It’s an idea whose time has come.
Social Media has already made its presence felt in Egypt, where a dictator was toppled; in India, where the Government was forced to pay attention to an anti-corruption bill; and in places like Spain that has seen Facebook fuelled “occupy wall street” clones. Social collaboration serves as a catalyst for societal shifts. Are companies immune any more?
Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce.com, says “The elites – or managers in companies no longer control the conversation. This is how insurrections start.” Does your training department grasp this fundamental shift in thinking? Why are we still tolerating training content being pushed down our throats? Does your eLearning platform allow people to learn from one another or is it yet another command and control system for standardized dissemination of information? These are the questions that should keep CLOs awake.
Platforms like the AnywhereLearner allow employees to share best practices with their counterparts and across departments through a private Twitter account on their Smartphones. Imagine creating a courseware that captures the best practices of your employees and then making it available to the rest of the group. Traditional “instructionally designed” courseware that has no inputs from the people actually doing the job is like serving stale food that nobody is going to touch anyways!
Enterprise training and learning can no longer be dictated by somebody tasked with training. Quoting from Kirkpatrick’s article, “Rypple is a social evaluation tool that lets everyone in a company rate everyone else and gives people continuous real-time feedback. It taps social and peer pressure to make job evaluation more effective at driving future performance.” Imagine dynamic training needs that get determined by the teams themselves.
Social media has definitely democratized information and knowledge, and has virtually eliminated the idea of hoarding knowledge to gain leverage. In the world of LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, the more you share, better is your standing in the community.
I had witnessed first-hand how departmental “walls” can sabotage deals simply because the person that had the expertise needed to win a deal wasn’t incentivized to share his expertise. In a hypercompetitive world and in an uncertain environment, this is suicide. Training is not just about herding people into a classroom or the so called Learning Management System (LMS) to push content. That’s just the beginning. Companies that succeed in delivering learning and information to the right person at the right time will win. Enterprise social learning is not an option, its inevitable.
To conclude, here is another insightful quote from Ray Ozzie – “All this was unstoppable from the moment somebody installed the first network – the steady march toward reducing friction and reducing transaction costs faced by individuals. And you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”