Silos exist at corporations for good reason. It’s significantly easier to work with like minds, when everyone's clear as to who owns what. Given the social media Center of Excellence is asking groups to do something that is very difficult, change, having the right team is critical.

Building a team: what are the necessary skill sets?

As it's a small team, staff has to have a number of skills, experience, and if you're lucky, innate talent. To succeed, the Center will need domain experts who are not only capable of defining new enterprise approaches, but who are also good at convincing others to adopt new ideas. If I had to choose between two candidates, I'd select the team member who was adept at working with groups with very different views, personalities, training, and experience levels over the candidate with strong social media skills. 

Bringing yet another ego to the table, no matter how expert, rarely helps -- team members instead should demonstrate a surfeit of patience, persistence, and fortitude. In fact, whenever possible the Center should seek to spotlight others, i.e. the groups they serve, rather than themselves, especially internally. There's no better outcome than having non-Center participants take all the credit. A divisional marketing lead once referred to our coalition's work as his on a large conference call. Instantly, a flurry of "that’s your project, aren’t you mad?" instant messages appeared on my screen. My reply, "Couldn’t be happier. Having a team see this as their ideas/work indicates success. It's the objective."

  • Seek out team members (and divisional/departmental coalition participants) who have demonstrated the ability to build and lead working coalitions.

What’s in a name?

Obviously, what’s most important is the group fulfills its mission. If it’s facilitating enterprise adoption and if it’s succeeding, does the name really matter? Minor nit, but an improved name, should someone be able to come up with one, would only help, given divisional or department employees are rarely pleased with any 'my-say-so-matters-more-than-yours' group.

On the assumption these Centers function as "easy to find people who are expert at facilitating your development and adoption of new marketing approaches," I’m a huge fan. Truly, I’m counting on them to significantly capitalize on the opportunity social offers via revenue enhancing business transformation, which for the most part few firms have even begun.

Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 of this five-part series.

Photo credit: flickr/kool_skatkat

Pauline Ores

Published 14 October, 2010 by Pauline Ores

Pauline Ores is an Enterprise Market Relationship consultant and a contributor to Econsultancy.

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