Selling intranet 2.0 to executives

Luddites are frequently overused as consummate examples when contrasting technophobes of the past with those of today. I prefer more timely and recent comparisons than those textile artisans of the early 1800s because there there are more obvious and laughable, modern-day comparisons to today’s technophobes.

Selling social mediaFamed negotiator Herb Cohen went to work for GM in the 1950s, in his first corporate job, sitting outside the employee bathroom, and with a stopwatch, timed each employee’s bio-break. Employees were allowed only three minutes for ‘number one’ and only five minutes for ‘number two’. The bathroom was something that executives feared; if employees were allowed to ‘relieve’ themselves on company time, productivity and profitability will fall.

Executives fear change:

  • In the 1950s, executives feared the bathroom: employees will waste productive time.
  • In the 1970s, executives feared the telephone: employees will waste productive time.
  • In the late 1980s, executives feared email: employees will waste time.
  • In the 1990s, executives feared Internet access: employees will waste time.
  • In the 2000s, executives fear social media: employees will waste time.

Change generates uncertainty; technology stokes fear. Sometimes the fear is nothing more than a dismissive reflex; often fear is met with force. The modern corporation is not a democracy, it’s an executive oligarchy, and fear is quelled by force. Executives use force to combat their fears, and technology is but one.

Executives fear social media for many reasons (e.g. privacy, profits, PR, etc.), but mainly becauseВ  it will drain productivity: employees will waste time. Those oligarchs of the executive suite will only overcome this fear through one of two principal catalysts: time and rationale.

In time, executives embrace change and technology, or they are replaced. Alternatively, they can be reasoned with, if you employ the most equitable rationale. The rationale that speaks louder than words is profit.

Social media can generate direct profit, and indirect profit. As it relates to the intranet, social media (intranet 2.0) can indirectly deliver higher profits via multiple means including reduced costs (e.g. employee retention, knowledge sharing, etc.) and increased revenue (e.g. sales referrals, faster time to market, etc.).

To impart this wisdom on executives, you need to sell the benefits of intranet 2.0. Find out what your executives want to hear and sell them by telling them the benefits that will be accrued, the problems that can be solved, and also what others, particularly the competition, are doing.

Learn more on our free webinar (with Shel Holtz and myself): Strategies for Selling Social Media to Target Audiences in Your Organization

7 thoughts on “Selling intranet 2.0 to executives”

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  6. I have the feeling that if you want to waste time, you will find anything to do that, therefore the evolution of technology shouldn’t be the only thing a boss should fear of. It amused me to read that there was a limited time for going to the bathroom in the ’50s, but I can’t help but wonder if over the years the next generations will laugh because the big ones feared social media.

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