Social Enterprise: The Hub of Operational Excellence

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How Social Media is Making the World Flatter and Driving Operational Excellence


Understanding what is being said about our markets, our clients, our staff and our business is the hub for driving operational excellence.

In the last seven year since Thomas Friedman wrote his book “The World Is Flat” (first edition 2005), social media has become our third language. You may say, “third language, what are you talking about, what do you mean?”

Consider language one to be verbal and language two to be written; language three is social… short, clipped sentences with abbreviations like shorthand. It is a pervasive new language that is not going away. This new language is at the heart of the Operational Excellence of the future.

First, let’s understand why or how this new language is so critical to the success of Operational Excellence. As Friedman introduced to us the concept that the world is flat, I contend in the last ten years—or even five—the world has gotten even flatter with the plethora of social media, instant messaging, smart phones and other mobile devices that are mini-computers in our pockets. The world is flatter because social media has created an environment where everything is transparent and there are no secrets. We no longer have walls to our businesses, because these changes in communication have brought those walls down.

On one hand, this huge difference can be a little scary. The way we do business is changing and we must change, too, to ensure the longevity of our businesses.

Instead of giving in to fear, we can choose to embrace these changes as an opportunity to easily gather information from our customers, future customers and markets. Even if you have a business-to-business model, you need to understand what your customers are facing with their customers. You can use this new language and technology to identify how to help your customers innovate.

Understanding what is being said about our markets, our clients, our staff and our business is the hub for driving operational excellence. In the many years since I developed the marketing system called “Operationalized Marketing & Sales,” I have preached that a full-blown “Voice of the Customer” program should be initiated before any process improvement initiative is started. Our customers should be telling us what to improve in order to reap the biggest return on investment. Social media venues are an ideal place to gather this crucial intelligence.

I had a conversation just last week with a process improvement professional in Italy. This wouldn’t even have been possible a few years ago; if not for social media, we couldn’t have connected through LinkedIn. This person was sharing that one of the top concerns that his clients have is building a network with other businesses. They are recognizing that it is cooperation and collaboration with others that will provide their sustainability.

The final consideration we’ll discuss here is just how necessary it is in this new social world to examine how our processes support—or don’t support—the new way of doing business. Just consider how a flatter organization can quickly and speedily handle customer complaints and solve customer problems, and therefore deliver an unparalleled and exceptional customer experience. Our customers can almost see inside our business, and they can easily know as much as anyone in a company. Our ability to sustainably drive Operational Excellence throughout an organization is our ability to flatten our organizations, our supply chains and communication.


Additional Reading

Can “Social” Be One Key to Operational Excellence? 

Social Marketing Optimization and the Future of Economics


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