The Social Side of Business Is Not Optional: McKinsey Q2 Popular Articles

You may or may not be a fan of McKinsey and their well-known methods of research, analysis and business engagement but I did find their Q2 top article list a useful stimulus for reflection on the degree and types of change that are percolating through normal business channels. The summary of the ten top articles (image from article summary deck) by title and promotional deck include themes that are the source of so much of that change - social dynamics.

The social side of business, it seems, is a significant issue from any number of angles. Almost half of the articles deal directly with this aspect of competitive corporate offerings and the balance are splashing distance from this core. Technologies that are highly social directly impact marketing and sales. Understanding the rules that govern the interaction of social rules and norms in an online space could mean the difference between long-term success and a premature demise. Change leaders need to have an ability to move between the established and the emerging, brokering these changes through intelligent tactics and sound thought processes. These are social skills within specific contexts and being good at them is critical for all leadership roles in an organization.

Senior leadership can enable systems and structures that contribute positively to these dynamics or then can kill them by unwittingly cutting of the oxygen supply of emerging, game-changing ideas and possibilities. When various functioning units in an organization grow more isolated from each other, significant competitive advantage is lost. Bridging functions, formal and informal, will prove essential.

As a final irony, it is noted that executives do poorly at a core social skill - listening. Where there is inadequate time, interest, or skill in listening, organizational performance levels will be seriously compromised. Business is all about the people, the social, the connections, and it is as much an internal matter as it is a customer facing issue.

Knowing this and doing something about it ends up being one of the divides that will increasingly separate the successful companies from the dust eaters who persist in treating the social as a soft fringe preoccupation.

1 comment:

Ingenuity Arts said...

Additional note: As a paper I recently read by James DeFilippis points out (The Myth of Social Capital in Community Development), social connectedness and power gains (and requires) other forms of power such as money and resources to enact change. Bent Flyvbjerg would also agree with this sense that changing or building or enacting ideas brings us into partisanship, power, and conflict.