Nov 16, 2012

Book Review: Socialized by Mark Fidelman - A book on building a Social Business

I received a copy of Mark Fidelman's book, Socialized a couple of weeks ago to review. I have "known" Mark via Twitter where we've had many conversations over the last couple of years. I've avidly followed his column on Forbes, where he's profiled a lot of executives and organizations who are driving change within their companies to leverage social technologies to drive a cultural transformation - as businesses move away from primarily a "command and control" era to "driven by community" leveraging the power of their fans, advocates, influencers and employees.

Mark starts off the book saying that this "social age" is the fifth age of business - after the industrial age, the broadcast age, the management and telecommunication age and the information age.

As each business age changed, some companies could adapt and thrive, and a lot of others actually couldn't and died along the way. Mark's belief is that if organizations want to survive they cannot wish away the reality and if they do so, they are doomed. Some like IBM have made the transition from various ages with nimbleness even with their size, and they are leading the charge in the social era too.

He quotes Andy McAfee, MIT’s principal research scientist for digital business, “analog companies eventually are going to get swept aside by digital companies. It’s my firmest belief about the future of business.”

Interestingly, Mark makes a point that would make most HR and senior business leaders sit up: The old "control and command" structure demotivates employees. While customers are more loyal to socially engaged businesses.

In the rest of the book, Mark lays out the process of change and operations needed to transform a business - from people to vision to assessing the gaps, to getting the organization to rally around a common purpose.

What I liked was the reference to "internal/enterprise social networks" as a "digital village" by Mark, including customers and partners. On HR's role he says "Human Resources should focus more on developing internal communities within the digital village (via the social platform). HR’s role will be to ensure that the platform’s user experience, aesthetics, and collaborative elements support the HR mission of employee recruiting, satisfaction, and retainment. If analytics and sentiment about employee discontent are trending, HR can take meaningful steps to stop the trend or learn from it."

Socialized! How the Most Successful Businesses Harness the Power of Social (Bibliomotion, November 2012), is available 11/15 at US bookstores as well as at all major online retailers.  You can get your FREE copy of Socialized!, when you register for BusinessNext Social, the world’s premier social business conference by November 21st.