I was wrong.

A few months back I commented on the concept of Social Tech as essentially “Digitizing the Soul of the Enterprise”. The point was that the enterprise can now use storytelling through blogs, videos, memes, infographics, podcasts, and various forms of social media, to tell the world what they are all about. 

But it’s funny. Many insurance companies I’ve met with along the way really don’t know what they are all about. Sure, they can articulate the obvious goal-oriented items like grow revenue, insure more people, keep costs under control, keep the bad guys out of the network, be an employer of choice, have another good year, be thought-leaders and innovators, …

Bangkok Hilton Rooftop Pool

Bangkok Hilton Rooftop Pool


But who are we really? What are we REALLY all about? What makes us special? Why do people want to work here? Why do they stay here? Why do customers give us their hard-earned money? Why do they KEEP paying us when there are so many other things they could be buying? And what are we DOING with that money, that trust, that loyalty? Yes, the law requires us to have proper reserves. But after that, how are we using our profits, our time, our talents, and our INFLUENCE, to make a difference in the world around us? Dad always told me I need to leave places better off than when I got there. Is civic philanthropic an obligatory afterthought, or are we giving those efforts our best like we do the core business? Are we even giving the core business our best?

Are these even questions we should be asking? Are the answers worth pursuing, REALLY pursuing? Is there an ROI from getting to the deep Why, an ROI that will energize our staff AND our customers – our PROSPECTS? Is it #worthit?

So what IS the culture of the enterprise that #SocBiz is amplifying?


  1. What are the truth answers to these questions? Really. The truth. The reality.
  2. Are customers mostly happy or unhappy?
  3. What do clients tell their friends about their insurer, their agent, advisor, broker?
  4. Where does the enterprise fall on the customer’s satisfaction continuum?
  5. Are employees so jazzed about their jobs that you have a continuous stream of referred “A” candidates knocking down your door to get in?
  6. Or is the staff so disgruntled that are actually working towards your demise, happy when things don’t work out well, bolting out the door at 5pm?

Jive Software recently said that 85% of US workers are dissatisfied with their jobs. WOW? That doesn’t bode well for the advancement of the culture, labor and industry, social order, really anything. That’s a foundational problem.

Bangkok Sunrise, Hilton Rooftop Infiniti Pool

Bangkok Sunrise, Hilton Rooftop Infiniti Pool

Perhaps that explains why so many corporations are struggling with Social Business? They actually fear transparency. They don’t want the world to know what they really do with their time, talents, and treasures, or how they really feel about their customers, or how they really treat their employees? “The less that gets out there the better.”

Why was I wrong? Social doesn’t Digitize the Soul of the Enterprise. Social AMPLIFIES the Soul of the Enterprise.

Whatever the soul of the enterprise IS, right now, today, Social Tech is amplifying that, right now, today.

No Escape

It’s happening on Linkedin, Glassdoor, Twitter, Facebook, even on the corporate YouTube channel, or lack thereof. There is no escaping it. Social Tech means that we all live in the proverbial glass house now. And our corporations are completely transparent. Everyone can see in. Sure, everyone can’t REACH in, or COME in, but they can now SEE in. There’s nowhere to hide any longer.

So what to you need to do about this? Shift focus, circle the wagons, and DIG IN.

Start looking at every process and product in the company. Break them down.

Look at all the people, all the roles. Break them down, too. How can we drive out inefficiency, drive down costs, lean out? We need to change our diet and exercise. We need to listen more and talk less. Maybe it’s not about promoting ourselves and sell, sell, sell all the time. Perhaps if we do a much better job with our customer experience, like truly effective online (including mobile) quoting, enrollment, underwriting, issuance, policy maintenance, claims handling, service, training, etc. right down the line, perhaps our clients will sell FOR US if we ask them too, or better yet, without our asking.

Bangkok Skyline Sep14

Bangkok Skyline Sep14


A Few Ideas

Get off email and into Collaborative Networks. Some of the smartest insurance companies I know have made the transition to tools like Jive Software. And they ain’t going back, if you get my drift. Internal email is ‘remember when’ now. Internal Collaborative Networks are today. (And Sharepoint isn’t one.)

Get the business units to make a video about every little thing they do. There’s nothing like trying to produce a video that causes you to stop and think, step back and look. Videos flesh out the real deal.

Btw, this is what makes implementing Social Business SO hard. Each company is different – different product set, different staff, different customer base, markets, and so on. Sure you can learn from others, but we all know that you can’t imitate, right? You have to implement Social Business with your own hands, your team, your customers, your markets, your voice, your reputation, your tools, your goals, your purpose.

Survey customers and staff. Get the data. And then do it all again. And maybe one more time. You know where the issues are. So ask the questions that will get straight to the point. Sure you want to be diplomatic. But don’t beat around the bush. That will just add noise and will be a sycophantic exercise leading nowhere.

Will it cost you? Yes. Might you miss earnings targets this year because of this all-hands-on-deck imperative? That depends on the enterprise – really stale or dysfunctional culture? Probably yes. Generally positive culture? Maybe not.

But in either case, the Soul of the Enterprise IS being Amplified. And as technology and Social and Sharing accelerates, the music will get louder and louder. Is your music making the world a better place, pleasing to the ears, a true work of art, your best?

What’s The Prize?

Am I out in left field on this? What do you think? What’s the prize if the enterprise succeeds with Social Business, Reputation Management, Organizational Voice, Customer Experience, White Collar Lean, High Beam Leadership, Digital Ecosystems, Social Responsibility, Rating Systems, the Voice of the Customer, the Sharing Economy, #SoLoMo, #BIGDATA, the Velocity of Change, Virtualization, Cloud, #BYOD, Crowdsourcing, Mobile, Storytelling, Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing? What are the necessary ingredients for the recipe that will get us there?