MAD Perspectives Blog

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 Remember to be Human

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, March 14, 2012

In a discussion with a former HP colleague I was reminiscing about the "old days" of open communication, sharing of ideas, encouragement of career shifts and the "can do" exuberance that was prevalent in the company's New York area offices. I hadn't traveled to the west coast, at that point in my career, to experience the HP Way on any larger scale. Bill and Dave were still alive and their influence was pervasive, even though they weren't actively involved in the day to day running of the company.

As I thought about this conversation later, I realized that what made HP a special place to work at that time (the mid to late 80's) was its culture of curiosity and humanity. By humanity, I mean

     - a respect for individuals

     - a hunger for new ideas or processes

     - a desire to delight the customer 

     - a high level of integrity

Aren't these the same elements that make social media so compelling? In their book, Humanize, How People-Centric Organizations Succeed in Social Media, James Notter and Maddie Grant reflect on organizations have become mechanical and the importance of making organizations more human. Consumers and business people alike are attracted to social media because of its openness and honesty. Those companies that learn to communicate as if in a one-to-one conversation rather than in scripted, sanitized, bland corporate speak stand to benefit. They will earn customer loyalty, feed product innovation, 

As I communicate in a post-corporate world, I think about how I talk to my peers, my friends and my clients. Their feedback has been extremely helpful as MAD Perspectives has evolved. The words most commonly used are courage, passion, commitment, honesty and clarity. I keep these comments in mind as I communicate here in my blog or on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. I hope I sound human.  

I believe that the best corporate social efforts are those where the individuals are empowered to speak candidly about their experiences. It is frustrating when the social networks seem to perpetuate corporate speak. I appreciate those status updates that add personal insight regarding a newsworthy tidbit. I enjoy the comments that reveal the individuals personality, likes and dislikes. I learn from those blogs that share real world application of complex ideas or technologies.  

It comes down to being human and remembering that social media has evolved as a way for people to communicate with people. Social media networks and platforms are simply the medium that have reminded us that we like to talk as if we were leaning over the cubicle wall to share a new idea. As companies continue their social media forays, I believe those that will succeed will remember to be human.  

What's your perspective?