Chapter 4

Developing a Digitally Driven Company

Culture, Structure, and Leadership

It is often the case that a company will observe the social media success of other companies and try to replicate their programs hoping for similar outcomes. What's going on when, at the end of the day, their results are completely different? Sometimes it is as simple as the “me too” company not having developed the requisite social media engagement skills. But more often than not, the difference is cultural.

“Culture is, in my view, the most overlooked, underestimated factor determining whether social media succeeds or fails in a company,” explained Andy Piper, social bridge builder and a consulting information technology (IT) specialist working for IBM Software Group in the United Kingdom. “And when corporate culture and social media are pitted against each other, social media will always fail. Always.”1

To develop a social enterprise, management has to be intentional about creating a culture that values openness, transparency, collaboration, and innovation. Although many social forces are making this directional move inevitable, it often goes against the grain of how companies have traditionally been run, not to mention with what they have been familiar and have valued, and with how they have evaluated their people. That doesn't mean that it cannot be done. In fact, hopefully I have convinced you that it has to be done for companies to thrive in the social media age. Although I am by no means ...

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