One measure of an organisation’s agility is its ability to detect and resolve problems (exceptions) in their operations quickly and effectively.
Resolving exceptions in processes require:
- An effective exception detection mechanism – people who care enough to identify issues and communicate them, even when the problem happens outside of their immediate areas of responsibility.
- A communications system that is flat enough to enable the warning messages to travel to the right people; and not just straight up the chain of command.
- People with relevant deep domain knowledge of the specific area in which the exception has occurred. People who can fix things.
- Cross-domain T-shaped problem solvers/facilitators; especially if the problem crosses multiple specialist domains.
- The authority to execute with autonomy (or the daring to do first ask permission later); the attitude to focus on correcting the exception and not say, covering backsides.
In many ways, all problems are people problems. And people also provide the real solutions. Since social media is people, is social media a fundamental tool crucial to the mix?
Social media has the ability to enable collaboration and connection at a deeper level faster. Twitter for example makes it so much easier to meet complete strangers (from anywhere around the world) who share the same interests, complementary expertise or mindset. A few Tweets later, we have a rapport established that doesn’t that that much to maintain.
Social media goes beyond simply connecting like a telephone. Certainly I could not imagine maintaining my network today with just the phone alone. The same thing applies to an intra-organisational community, one that stretches across different levels and business groups. Imagine including customers in this community...
Perhaps businesses are only wary of social media right now because of its newness. After all, no one really need to discuss whether it is productive for all employees to have a mobile phone! No one worries about an employee spending all day on personal phone calls.
The organisational culture needs updating too. Implementing social media tools requires the organisation to trust its people to socialise productively and appropriately while at work. More time to socialise may well be the best way to build your exception response capabilities.