Why you need a cute cat group

My husband is a blogger. A good one. He can rattle blogs out like nobody’s business. I’m not so good. I encourage leaders to blog more but between client work and motherhood, I struggle to find the time. But I talk a lot and my husband will regularly say: ‘You should write a blog post about that’. This post is a result of one of those conversations.

We were discussing business tag lines. Water Cooler’s is that we help businesses succeed by getting people talking. Husband questioned this saying it’s not specific enough. He said you don’t want people to just talk. And I said, actually I do. Explain, he said.

Social interactions are critical in companies. It’s how people are wired. When you get to work in the morning, you might make a cup of tea, have a chat with a colleague about the weekend or previous evening and then you get to work. Or you’re stuck on a problem, you go for a walk, have a chat with a colleague and then feel energised to get back to it. Sometimes, you’ll just chat and sometimes you’ll get on to work stuff and then sometimes great things happen. Nobody discourages it.

But when we look at ‘social’ media (the clue is in the name), some leaders worry that it’s just going to be about unproductive chit chat. The level of trust that employees can manage to chat and work online (as they do in real life) is low.

It’s only the early adopters in a company who will jump online and start using tools like Yammer in a productive way from the off. Other people need more time. They feel exposed: it’s visible, they might get it wrong, what if the CEO sees it.

So, you pull them in gently. Create a few social groups where the CEO isn’t hanging out. Whether it’s cute cat pictures (and it always seems to be the cute cat pictures!), the local running team or recipe sharing, people can have a dabble. Maybe it’s a like, then a reply, then an original post. Maybe it’s a conversation with someone in another office they’ve never met before who just so happens to be working on something that could really help them. Something that without sharing that cute cat pic, would never have been unearthed. Maybe they agree to work together. Maybe they set up a group and get others involved. See where this is going?

My advice is don’t take the social out of social. Encourage it. Trust your people to self-moderate. Most people do and for the very, very few that don’t, you’ll have a policy for dealing with that.

Let humans be human. Once new connections are made socially across teams, functions and geographies, the work will come.


Posted on December 12th, 2016.  0 Comments

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