Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff was an excellent book and I felt that the book deserved a two-part review. I mentioned in my last review that I found so much helpful information in Part I. Well, Part II was no different. The second part of the book actually went deeper into how to energize and embrace the Groundswell and how to create an organizational environment where your employees can accept the change as well. Organizational behavior and cultural shift is an area of great interest for me, and a favorite topic to discuss in my own presentations.
Let me start with one of the chapters in the second half of the book that dealt with energizing the Groundswell. Chapter 7 was an excellent chapter as the authors went into detail about the steps to harnessing the energy and momentum generated by a Groundswell. I particularly liked the way they offer techniques for “energizing your enthusiasts” and a breakdown of complex information into helpful case studies including the following: Dell, ebags, Constant Contact and Lego. Another favorite part of Groundswell, several of the case histories throughout the book included an “ROI Ratings and Reviews” section. I love a book that can break out a cost analysis and a profit analysis at the end of each example.
I might be slightly biased toward this subject, but I thought an internal organization look at the groundswell was covered nicely in Chapters 10 and 11, “How Connecting with the Groundswell Transforms Your Company,” and “The Groundswell Inside Your Company,” which gets your employees involved and participating in groundswell thinking. I am a firm believer that anything you want to achieve externally, must be accepted and valued within the organization first. Your own employees are the greatest brand champions and should be used to the organization’s advantage. However, culture can be one of the toughest challenges. Even if you listen, plan and set social outreach programs in place, a lack of buy in or participation on behalf of the organization’s employees will prove counter productive toward overall social success.
Groundswell outlines the best approach to getting your entire organization on board. A few of the helpful hints in Chapter 10 included:
- “First, start small” and pick your battles strategically
- “Second, educate your executives” by showing them the research
- “Third, get the right people to run your strategy” who are usually the people who are the most passionate about relationships with customers
- “Fourth get your agency and technology partners in synch” and make sure they understand the groundswell
- “Fifth, plan for the next step and the long term” so you know exactly where the groundswell thinking will take your company
I know that Groundswell was first published in 2008, but there’s a reason why the book is a bestseller. If you pass by this book because you think you should be reading newer titles (and, yes, you can still read them too), you are missing an opportunity to hear excellent advice from two very savvy technology focused, social media professionals, who back up everything they say with concrete examples. I think this book is well worth the read and is now on my recommended or “must read” list.