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Permission to Speak – Leadership Blog – Kelly Vandever Interviews Lauren Maxwell on Social Business Adoption & Results


Permission to Speak

Video Blog & Podcast

Hosted by Leadership Communications Expert Kelly Vandever

Permission to Speak is the video blog and podcast that loiters at the intersections of leaders who want their people to speak up, technology that facilitates connections, and results that serve an organization’s higher purpose.

Our guest for this episode:  Lauren Maxwell

Episode 3 - Lauren Maxwell - Podcast Logo


Topics discussed:


Empower people in organizations to voice their creative thoughts & take a seat at the table

Social media & social tools


Social collaboration

Social business

Culture change


Social business adoption

Social cloud


Speed and Agility


Employee engagement

Client experience

IBM Supply Chain example – Proposal Center of Competence – 600 hours of active collaboration – emphasis, reverse mentoring and flattening the organization – saw a 10% increase in wins

Focus on outcomes – think about the outcomes first

2014 – IBM the first company to surpass 7,000 patents in one year

2014 – 2-year IBM study of collaboration projects found that inventors who worked socially, who worked out in the open and shared their knowledge, were 120% more likely to drive measurable innovation.

Sharing expertise – key practice

Let employees know it’s OK to make a mistake – one of the hesitations of working on a social platform is admitting on a public forum that they don’t know or that they need help.  Making that OK in an organization has been very valuable.

Keep the outcomes in mind FIRST.

Top down leadership has to model the behaviors – important piece

Enablement – developing materials to help people with engrained habits experiment with new ones – try something new in their workflow.  Need to tell them the benefits and that’s part of the power of the storytelling.

Give them “how to’s” related to their job roles or their particular organization

IBM Verse

Move fast, fail quickly

Being open with how things are going – the value of vulnerability

Begin social adoption with outcomes in mind

Brought 40 new deals into the pipeline representing $1M in revenue

Reduced development time by 50% through collaborating on the platform

Bottom line results that encourage people to take action and to change behaviors

Multiple approaches for adoption – campaign, educational pieces, what’s in it for the individual, the value of sharing knowledge widely and becoming known

People speaking up when they don’t agree with top management

Empowering people to be able to disagree

Letting them know they’ve been heard

Importance of leadership in flattening an organization – and walking the talk

Benefits on the individual level – work flow, eminence, career progression, sense of belonging

Traveling to distant locations – meeting up with local IBMers, ask for recommendations on where to eat and what to see

Learning about projects outside your role


Working transparently

Working out in the open

Opting In:  Lessons in Social Business from a Fortune 500 Product Manager

Ed Brill