Creating Dynamic Social Network Capabilities

Building Your Capabilities For Accelerated Business Velocity + Adaptibility

We can support your investment in creating, enabling and/or improving all, or part, of the capabilities needed for an effective Dynamic Social Network.

The five key elements of a Dynamic Social Network for your strategic activities include:

  • Formalizing your informal networks
  • Demonstrating network leadership
  • Managing through dual operating system
  • Engaging the workforce
  • Catalyzing learning-led innovation

Formalize Your Informal Networks

In addition to the informal networks throughout your company, there are two primary types of social business networks worth exploring for enhanced execution based on the work to be done. One is focused on purpose-driven strategic team’s project work directed top-down, and the other provides general-purpose support to address bottom-up, line-of-sight improvement effort of individuals and small groups.

Purpose Driven Networks are set-up based on leadership-directed strategic activities, and are focused on specific business outcomes. Typical are one-off strategic initiatives where leadership focus and resources come together to create a business capability, or other business outcome, with the team disbanding once the objective has been achieved (e.g., a marketing channel realignment initiative.)  Emerging forms include Networks of Excellence where network-based strategic capability is needed, complete with continuous improvement (e.g., agile development community of practice.)

General-Purpose Networks typically emerge to facilitate on-going operations (e.g., corporate communication).  Supporting tactical, employee self-directed activities through access to content, expertise, tools and methods, etc. are common objectives (e.g., customer service work group.)  Workflow strengthening via cross-functional coordination (horizontal interoperability), asynchronous collaboration, etc. can bring network benefits to day-to-day operations (e.g., finance’s month-end close.)

Networks provide the structure, resources, etc. to both drive purpose-driven network outcomes while supporting general-purpose network execution. Complementing processes and projects, networks are central to our approach to achieve Short-term High-impact Business Results and to create Long-Term Sustainable High Performance Capabilities.

Demonstrate Network Leadership

Allow, encourage and require active leadership involvement allow with key stakeholders to create direction, governance, communication, and culture shaping.

Fundamental to leadership’s role are activities focused on engaging and inspiring the entire organization- from direct reports on through the organization, to staff in far-flung geographies at the edge of the enterprise.

Securing resources, eliminating barriers, and ensuring alignment with strategy continue to be critical leadership activities.

A key entry point to successfully introducing a dynamic social network can be vetting of the leadership team’s issues, potential solutions and executional recommendations within an extended leadership network.

Engage The Workforce

Pulling together activities and creating an environment to further excite the workforce is no simple task. We have worked hard to find the right combination of tools, processes, skills and services to raise employee engagement and, depending on the network’s maturity and focus, tap the cognitive surplus and/or increase employee productivity. Each of the following collectively provide a sense of the interconnected capabilities.

  • Community Management builds relationships within the community; creates value for members who participate in the community; and liaise between the community and supporting leadership
  • Adoption Process moves stakeholders through stages of engagement within various networks and initiatives. The adoption process includes a significant application of change leadership and change management
  • Right Tools to ensure a supportive (easy-to-use) communitive, collaborative environment considering, for example, the needs of various group sizes and work types for both existing and future operating models
  • Experiential Learning Process which might initially provide, for example, basic digital skills; expanding to experientially relevant supporting information and checklists; ultimately leading to peer coaching and mastery of business objectives-driven skills

Manage Through Dual Operating System

The traditional hierarchical box-and-wire structure has served the industrial revolution’s management needs well.

The idea of the dual operating system is to address the two types of work: routine work through the efficiency of a hierarchical box-and-wire structure; while concurrently co-opting “volunteers” (pulled from a possibly under-engaged workforce, or pulled from employees with some cognitive surplus) into a responsive network to address strategic, leadership-directed, dynamic networked effort.

It is the combination of these two operating systems, which together provide the enterprise both responsive, flexible effectiveness through the network, and efficient, stable processes efficiency of traditional box-and-wire hierarchical structure.

Catalyze Learning-led Innovation

Innovation, like improvement must be based in business performance toward a specific outcome. Our learning-led innovation framework combines 35 years of Fortune 500 experience in the design, launch and management of strategic initiatives with more than a decade of dedicated research and work with clients on dynamic social network concepts, technologies and tools.

As we think through the 5 fundamentals of dynamic social networks, while critical for both types of work (directed and self-directed), both types of networks (purpose-driven and general), and both types of structures (dual operating system- network and hierarchy), the fundamentals are by themselves not sufficient to define the aspirational end-point of a High Performance Enterprise.

The learning-led innovation framework provides an organizing concept able to capture experiential learning of network-based execution to inform the vision of the High Performance Enterprise. Your aspirational enterprise models must inform, for example, process and project execution- scenarios which may not currently include direct integration with network-based execution of work.

In order to ensure delivery on the durable capabilities front, we include the Learning-led Innovation Framework, a pressure tested framework to support your work toward achieving your organizational aspirations.