Exploring another aspect of the Socially Dynamic Organisation today, how amplification effects defy formal hierarchy: how individuals find strength despite the system. This builds on yesterdays piece around nodes and amplifiers.
The default communication channel within an organisation, through which it shares it’s formal story, is a formal channel: this can have the strengths that come from a large team, production values, and the luxury of time to shape it, but the weakness that is’s inherently formal, lacking certain authenticity, slow to respond and ‘done’ to us. It’s typically ‘broadcast’ in nature, the voice of the system.
Social voices, by contrast, are those that originate within the community, through our nodes, spread by amplification, but only if they are magnetic enough. Social stories are told and retold around a core narrative, so the exact words may change, but the meaning remains constant.
Social voices give strength, and do so despite any formal mechanism or system. They are voices that can be claimed and, crucially, they can be both faster and more effective than formal ones. Social voices can drown out the formal: not through volume, but through relevance, timeliness and sheer authenticity. Also, because we have the opportunity to contribute to the story, not simply listen to it.
It would be wrong to characterise social stories as gossip: they are far more than that. They are the unheard wisdom, the embodies sense making, within the social learning community. They are the stories that Social Leaders must use and listen to. Voices from the community. They are facilitated and spread through technology, but they are not about the technology: restrict access or deny permission and it will simply be claimed elsewhere, on formal systems and informal voices.
The Socially Dynamic organisation must understand and utilise both: formal stories when a formal voice is needed, but amplified and shaped by social voices. To achieve this, they need deeply embedded Social Leadership, they need high functioning communities, they need Social Collaborative Technology, and so on. It’s a holistic solution to a broad challenge: how to adapt to be fit for the Social Age.