As you know if you’re a regular reader here, I frequently write about social and mobile technologies’ influence on the direction of HR technology and the way we collaborate at work. Not only do I write about it, like you, I read what other thought leaders have to say.
One of the voices I pay attention to is Brian Solis. Solis is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and influenced the effects of emerging media on business, marketing, publishing, and culture. His book, Engage, is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to build and measure success in the social web, and his new book, The End of Business As Usual explores each layer of the complex consumer revolution that is changing the future of business, media, and culture.
I came across the following quote while reading one of Solis’ blogs:
“Social media is not the catalyst for change, but merely one of its agents. We must remember that Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and the like are the networks that facilitate an uprising. However, it is repression, angst, injustice, inequality, vision, aspiration and hope that serve as the true stimulus for insurrection and progress. Technology plays a part in transformation and it is up to you to learn how social, mobile, real-time, and all other emerging trends are affecting your industries, communities, or markets.”
While I agree with sentiment, when I first read this quote, I was a little taken aback by the use of the word “insurrection.” Defined as an act or an instance of rebelling against a government in power or the civil authorities, an open clash between two opposing groups (or individuals), or an organized rebellion aimed at overthrowing a constituted government through the use of subversion and armed conflict – the term has a negative connotation for me.
Certainly, no one would advocate for any kind of violent uprising against companies that don’t use social networking, or haven’t issued tablets to management. Nor would anyone suggest ousting the CEO by storming the boardroom with an angry mob because the company doesn’t allow employees to user their own Smartphones on the network.
Also, the idea of repression, angst, and injustice being the catalyst for such an uprising doesn’t sit well with me. But let’s be honest, these feelings do exist inside many organizations. Not because of the lack of available mobile and social tools, but because of the lack of strong leadership. However, here the revolt is quite. Not a mob, but one person at a time reaching their limit and taking their talent elsewhere.
The flip side is for vision, aspiration and hope to serve as the stimulus for progress. And this is my point, and I think Solis’ as well. Motivation for change can come from frustration, or inspiration. Transformation happens when people are fed up, or people are fed a vision. Anguish and ambition are equally strong catalysts for change.
The question is which do you want driving change in your organization? The reality is, both sides exist equally in your organization, and it is up to you to tip the scale in one direction or the other.
My experience has shown that doing nothing generally results in folks going to “the dark side” so it isn’t a game of hope – it is a game of strategy and intention.
Bringing people together and uniting them under common cause or mission is what leadership is all about, and why we work so hard to help our clients create HR and technology strategies to help them realize their organization’s vision of success – for everyone.
Maybe Solis’ quote was just a dramatic way to describe what drives people to change. Even so, I have experienced workplace frustration and angst in many engagements over the years – and I’m sure you have, as well. Do I think insurrection is around the corner? No, but I do believe apathy, a lack of transparency, and moving forward without a clearly communicated HR, technology, and business strategy is no way to get the kind of positive change we desire.
Avoid the angry mob. Now is the time to get serious about your HR strategy.
Another infusion of knowledge…