With Tactical Transparency, Shel Holtz and John C. Havens have written the best book on how social media is affecting business since 2008's Groundswell. It's pragmatic, it covers the "do's" and "don'ts" of communication realities today, and is full of relevant case studies.
There were a number of things about the book that really stood out. The style was down-to-earth — having had many conversations with both Shel and John over the past few years (both online and in-person), I can say they both managed to convey both the warmth and competence they have in the "real world" onto the page almost seamlessly. A number of the chapters concluded with a "What To Do Next" section that put forth tangible, tactical steps that an organization can take to begin to move from a "traditional" business culture to one that is far more transparent. And the entirety of Chapter 17 is dedicated to helping organizations create a road map for change.
While most of the thinking that has been done on this blog has been how transparency and related concepts affect the customer-vendor interaction, one "a-ha!" moment came for me in the chapter on internal transparency ("Exposing the Company to the Employees Who Make It Work"). Example:
"Now, imagine that instead of writing a memo, the project leader – and even the members of her team – maintain a project blog. Posts to the blog can include the following information:
- Achievement of milestones
- Notification of setbacks
- Requests for information to help overcome an obstacle or reach a new milestone
- Reports of problems encountered
- Ideas introduced to enhance or alter the nature of the project"
This resonated well with a briefing that I received last week from Mark Woolen over at Oracle, which just released a raft of new updates to their Customer Relationship Management offerings. (Paul Greenberg talks in some more depth about those here.)
I still think Oracle needs to be extending "Social CRM" to actually, you know, include the customer more concretely, and not just the sales rep. That said, their new tools, especially things like Sales Library and, even more soundly, Deal Management, are tools that can be used that sync up with the vision that Shel and John put forth in their book in the internal transparency realm. Deal Management, in particular is a really interesting step on the transparency path, showing individuals who are in the field how their peers are structuring similar opportunities to present to customers. Historically, this is the type of information that was firmly locked away in the CFO's office, and now it's getting pushed to the front lines.
So, anyway. Pick up the book. It's a good read and a great reference guide.