A couple of weeks ago a package dropped on to my door mat. “How about reviewing this book?” the attached note suggested. I read the title: Social Technologies in Business: Isabel De Clercq. I admit, a little bit of me sighed. But I had a job to do and I got stuck in. I read the book and I have talked to Isabel De Clercq. And I’m very pleased I did so. Here’s why…
“It’s the most engaging book I have read on how and why the social age is good for business!”
In writing her book, and in true social spirit of course, Isabel has collaborated with an eclectic team of 15 international co-authors, all with a passion for social, and all with oodles of practical experience to back up their evangelism for its use in our corporate lives. In a simple and compelling manner, they come together to make a clear case for why all leaders and businesses should embrace the social age.
Something for everyone
Wherever you are on your social journey you’ll find help aplenty in the book. The real-world examples and practical experiences shared throughout the bite-sized chapters offer guidance at every turn. While reading the book, I didn’t for one moment feel as if I was reading a technical script. It’s a book all about human behaviour: how we connect with each other; how we learn; how we share our knowledge; how we influence; how we overcome barriers. It’s about how we can make our organisations healthier places to work and more successful as businesses.
“If we put one book on our leaders’ desks this year, I suggest it is this one.”
Positive but not superficial
Far too frequently – dare I say, even on the pages of this website! – writing about how social is being used (or not used) in organisations, is loaded with the frustrations and battles we meet along the way. Isabel’s book feels rather different. It has a lightness of touch about it. It’s full of hope and eagerness to change. But it is not superficial.
It does tackle the very many obstacles we come across when embarking on a social journey, whether that’s the attitudes of senior leaders, the restrictions of traditional hierarchies, poor technology, a lack of trust, a heavy compliance culture and so on. But it stops short of wagging a finger; it doesn’t set out to attack or threaten. It didn’t make me feel stupid or patronised.
A must-read for leaders
We know that internal communicators play a crucial role in encouraging the use of social technologies in business. We also know that getting the top brass on board with the concepts behind social is essential for success. Something I think this book does extremely well is to shine a light on leadership in the new digital world of work, with powerful arguments to influence and ignite change. There are several chapters, easily digestible, that speak directly to CEOs about the necessity to embrace social. If we put one book on our leaders’ desk this year, I suggest it is this one.
Generosity is evident throughout the 180 pages of this book. These pages are imbued with the real essence of being social – so much knowledge is shared, so many ideas and methods are discussed, so many brilliant pieces of advice distilled into concise, stealable actions: ideas that you can take straight away and apply to your own organisations. It’s hard to imagine another single source that has captured the wisdom of so many experienced practitioners in one place. Whether it’s about learning new behaviours like Working Out Loud, how to deal with information overload, encouraging collaboration, or new approaches like social leadership, reverse mentoring and learning new skills such as when to chat, converse or collaborate, your easy -to -access tool kit is right here. Ready to dip into.
The ideas captured in this handbook make useful conversation starters. Having read it, I understand more about what Isabel De Clercq calls “the beautiful ideology of social.” Let it be the start of other conversations, other connections, other dialogues. As the authors of the book make clear, it’s not social technology itself that is the challenge. It’s also culture, structure, behaviour, leadership and learning new ways of working that need to be addressed. And who better to learn from than those who have got out there and tried it for themselves?
If you need persuading about the transformative power of social technologies, read this book.
Social Technologies in Business by Isabel De Clercq is published by die Keure Professional Publishing and is available from Amazon at £24.00