What I’ve Read Lately: Connecting Organizational Silos

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“Connecting Organizational Silos:
Taking Knowledge Flow Management to the Next Level with Social Media”

Author:  Frank Leistner
ISBN:  978-1-1183-8643-9

The number of books discussing social media in the enterprise continues to increase.  Some focus primarily on the tools.  Others focus on human, cultural, or leadership aspects.

For instance, Charlene Li’s book, Open Leadership, targets leaders: The need for increased transparency.  And, when it seems everyone can communicate with everyone else, how can you effectively lead anything?

In The New Social Learning, Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner discuss how Social Media is impacting how we learn…is rapidly changing…adding a new justification for why organizations should (if they aren’t already) be seriously thinking about how to leverage social media.

Connecting Organizational Silos is must-read material for those contemplating or preparing to deploy an ESN.

Frank Leistner’s Connecting Organizational Silos is a very down-to-earth pragmatic guide to implementing an Enterprise Social Netowrk (ESN) in an enterprise.  What’s an ESN you ask?  Simplistically, it is the essence of social media, but designed-for, and implemented within the confines of a business.

The bulk of Frank’s book is based on his role as Chief Knowledge Officer at SAS Global Professional Services, and his experience leading development, implementation, and adoption of an ESN within the SAS organization.

He initially sets the tone by discussing the difference between what goes on ‘on the web’ vs within your organization.  He further helps the reader understand, as do most other books on the topic, why you should care about social media.

The meat of the book discusses developing and implementing an Enterprise Social Network.  For instance, to make sure it is accepted, adopted for use, there need to be some key roles (e.g. Community Managers) created.  A network only thrives if it is nurtured, promoted, cultivated, and encouraged to grow.  “Build it and they will come…,” doesn’t work.

There is a good discussion about figuring out what an ESN needs to do, how it should integrate, and reviews the key groups (e.g. HR, Legal) that need to be involved as early as possible.

And, of course, to measure success it is appropriate that Social Media Analytics be discussed.  After all, if you’re going to build an ESN, make it an integral part of how your organization conducts itself, you need to know how to assess it’s success, health, and growth.

Connecting Organizational Silos strikes the right balance between technical and organizational considerations.

In my opinion, if your organization is considering building an ESN, or perhaps wondering why your existing efforts have not been fruitful, Frank’s book should be considered a must-read for everyone on the team.

The one ding I have against the book, it is it’s price. While I do not rate books based on ‘weight,’ per se, this is a 192 page book (174 if you discount Appendices and Index) that falls squarely in the $25/hardcover range for me.  A list price of $60 is rather high in my opinion.  A quick look will show various bookstores make it available at discounted prices…all still far above $25 though.  I still think it’s a must-read…but consider buying hard copy and passing it around.

(disclaimer: An advance copy of the book was provided by the publisher, without obligation, in exchange for a possible review.)

Image Credit(s):
Book cover:  Wiley.com
Interaction: Carol M. Highsmith