Social business is like presidential elections

64024_344544775592483_100001108908372_1055511_1928219822_nThere is one year, I’ve written an article wich compared the presidential elections and the entreprise 2.0. This month the french president has celebrate is one year birthday at the Elysée. It’s the occasion to translate this article.

Launch a social business project is like a presidential election. There is the pro and the con, the pledge, the spin doctors (consultants)… and if your project is validated, you’ll have to deliver. Let’s see that in details.

Set up the campaign

There is several project in your company, so you have competitors. Time to set up your campaign and win the « election » with the top management (it’s more a censal than a democratic functioning), then make it approve by your colleagues, the « democrature » side. As during a campaign, vous are going to make pledge or at least take some commitments.

Your first question : How much ? Like for the budget deficit, hard not to overtake the budget, there is always more costs, consulting, IT, communication… However, you are here to get a go, so you will give a number, not too hight not to afraid, not too low to look serious. As for an election, you should be credible about numbers if you want to have a chance. Take into account the economic context, means your enterprise internal culture about leading project.

Second topic, the famous ROI. Transformation, yes but for better, so what about this return on investment. I won’t come back on this question about ROI and added value. As you make pledges, of course there is an added value : team building, innovation, performance improvement, even if you have to remind than a valuable thing is not totally related to its capacity to be measured, like famous quote on the web :

What’s the ROI of your mother


I’ve never seen a document describing the ROI of restrooms and urinals

But for a good campaign, numbers are not enought, there is a part fo dream, make some storytelling to get people on board. That’s a benchmark part, the nice story which makes people dreaming, a mix of feedbacks, witticism, vision of another world  where everything is possible, another tomorrow.

Congrats you’ve been elected

Like for an election, there is a honeymoon period. People have your speech in mind about another way to work and a curiosity factor. You are at the top of the hype curve.

But after that, people will be less engaged, sponsors less interested. Between the pledge and the daily work, daily reality is winning. You need to react, make reform. Like in politic, it is not just incantations, and living only with the top, you need relays. This kind of project live at a grass root level. So you’ll need to communicate, chat, manage, facilitate, count with your audience, you can do nothing alone.

Like the president has to come back on TV, radio, it’s the same for you, employees mustn’t have to forget you and your social business project. They need to know what you do, your success, the next stages, like a real political agenda. There is a lot of other similitude…, but let’s take a short cut to the end, will your mandate be renew or not ?

Ultimate comparison, success or failure, pledge respected or degraded. Usually people in politics have the feeling that at the end nothing change, a lot of promises for nothing. No risk, no change, some best practices, but nothing new, and a lot of letdown, frustration finally. So if you don’t to say like for the Schweppes ad

Social business, is like Schweppes..« What did you expect ? »

So no social business whashing or bullshit, we are talking about transformation, change, and like in politics (at least in France), people want to see things moving but without real reforms. It’s quite the same, people are expecting results, but wihtout a real transformation of the organization and the process. So you’ll need to choose, a small project with the disappointment at the end or a real shift to respect your pledge, the transformation of your organization in collaborative/social one.

Your agenda, I let you choose