Is it possible that some organizations just simply aren’t ready for social media adoption?
Why? Because they’re not equipped, ready, or open to evolve or change the way they’ve been doing things.
Sometimes, it’s because change is complex, as in industries that are highly matrixed, or have complex regulatory or compliance issues that will require lots of detailed, nuanced, and potentially frustrating conversations with the powers that oversee such things.
Sometimes, it’s because we just can’t seem to find a solution for the things standing in our way. We’re not prepared to have the conversations, or ask the hard questions, or make staffing or operational changes to make change happen.
Sometimes, it’s because of out and out fear of the unknown, and the unwillingness to risk known quantities and accepted norms for things that are unproven or lack precedent and success standards.
Sometimes, it’s the inability or unwillingness to reallocate human and capital resources to something that doesn’t have established procedures and processes that ensure some level of efficiency out of the gate.
Sometimes, it’s because we misunderstand or haven’t thought through all of the implications – both positive and negative – for new ideas, and aren’t willing to spend the time doing so.
Sometimes, it’s just willful ignorance.
Innovation isn’t everyone’s bag, and we are still in the phase with social media where the companies that are doing this at scale and with long term intent are deserving of the label of trailblazers. Not every company is prepared to be first. Not every company is prepared to take the risks that come with trying something new or different. And you know what? That’s okay.
Yes, there’s proof that social media works. More and more of it. But the critical mass of proof is going to be different for every organization’s culture and risk tolerance level.
If you are working in or with one of the organizations that is digging their heels in, you have two choices, and two only.
You can continue to work in small, progressive steps toward re-engineering your organization in whatever capacity you can. You will have to find like minds, recruit help, teach, re-teach, show, try, demonstrate, explain, justify, negotiate, compromise. You will need to be fiercely committed to the idea you are the translator and the illustrator, but it’s only time and tenacity that will help you make strides. Some will be small. Some steps will be backward. And eventually, you may find that you have either inched forward, or uncovered a lost cause.
The alternative is to walk away. Let them be. For some of you, that means being brave enough to go find a new job if this matters enough to you. For some, that means saying no to a client because they’re not yet ready to take advantage of what you can help them do. But sometimes, this is the only right answer. Not everyone is ready yet, nor should they be.
The only filter for deciding which situation you’re facing? You. Your experience and intuition and tolerance level.
Am I passionate about this? You bet I am. But there are plenty of people and organizations passionate but uneducated. Ready, but who need guidance. Curious, but who need reassurance and some help along the way. I’m ready to concentrate on them – the ones with the mindset if not the framework – and let the other folks find their way when they’re ready. I can’t save them all, and neither can you.
Our job is to illustrate and inform. Theirs is to choose. You can only lead the horse.
image by Allen Dale Thompson