Business is hard, the financial markets are in turmoil,consumer sentiment is fragile and upcoming elections all point to the same thing – uncertainty. But there is a small ray of light that continues to emerge in our personal and business lives that is forever changing how we communicate and interact. This openness in the cloud of shadows that surrounds us is called social media. Said simply, with 550 million members of Facebook, 100 million Twitterers and scores of other social networkers participating and sharing their personal experiences – the world is becoming more connected and open. And the same is happening in business.
In the 30+ years that I have been in business, I am finally seeing an appreciation in organizations for transparency, vulnerability and sharing. For the leaders in industry – it is no longer – us versus them, but rather – WE. Yet, despite this small opening in our new way of thinking and doing business, change is hard. So to help you, your team and your organization get started there is a little exercise I would suggest you and your team try every day. It's called SOAR.
The process is simple and won't take much of your time, but the commitment to and payoff from SOAR is worth it:
- Step1: Settle in to the understanding that people everywhere are sharing their business and personal experiences. The more you appreciate and understand this reality, the more at ease your organization and leaders will be with it.
- Step 2: Observe all the conversations that are happening around you – in the cubicle next to you, among your customers, partners and investors, but do not pass judgment, just observe how many there are and what they are saying
- Step 3: Allow those conversations (employee discussions, investor recommendations, customer comments for new products and services, etc) to become an integral part of your organizations'culture, processes, management and measurement systems and
- Step 4: Recognize the contributors for all their thoughts, constructive comments, recommendations, ratings, reviews, and insights about what your organization is doing and can be do better to really serve those that serve you (customers, employees, and partners)
I am confident that if you practice and commit your entire team and organization to SOAR (just a minute or two a day and grow your commitment from there), your organization,our economy and our personal lives will reach its full potential.
Remember, nothing happens overnight – so practice the gift of giving through SOAR. I know it will pay dividends for us all.