Like many of you, I’ve signed up to get the latest blog posts of different writers. I recently received one telling me about a new book called Humanize: how people-centric organizations succeed in a social world. I thought it sounded interesting, I clicked on the link and realized immediately that I needed to buy this book. I invite you to check it out here: http://www.humanizebook.com/
This is not a book on how to implement social media in your organizations. Rather, it’s a book that uses the explosion of social media as an example of how deeply people are looking for real human interaction. This means real conversations, and not just at home, but at work too. Employees are not looking for another e-mail, or another power-point presentation, or another meeting where you are talked to, but real conversation. Humanize says, “We all want power to be closer to us and trust to be present in our relationships. It’s part of being human. Now thanks to social media, it is becoming part of business.” Social media allows everyone that chooses to use it to have a voice. And not just to have a voice, but to be heard. Companies that use social media well will respond to their customers’ questions and concerns.
The book argues that there are many aspects of the usage and success of social media that can be translated into our work cultures. Humanize argues that “it’s not about the tools. Although the social media revolution is based in technology, it is the very organic and human elements of being open, trustworthy, generative, and courageous that provided its transformative power.” The very qualities that make someone good at using social media are the very qualities that the authors argue are missing from many of our organizations.
There were so many things I loved about this book. I’m not sure if what I’m about to type is an insult to an author, but the simplicity of how it was written made it so easy to get through. I sort of felt like I was talking to an old friend about work struggles and they were guiding me through things I could look for, things I could even talk about and most importantly, things I could do to maybe create change at work. All of the examples that they gave about how most leaders run their organizations were examples I have run into in my career. We all know organizations where the senior management shares tiny bits of information without much explanation, or we’ve all heard the “this is just how we do it” with no real opportunity for talking about why it’s done that way. It’s more “normal” to work in an organization where departments keep to themselves. You need to ask permission to do almost anything and real change doesn’t happen because no one is able to make a decision.
Authors Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant make it very clear in the beginning chapters that this books purpose will not “make” your organization more human. Rather, it’s to serve as a guide. The four human elements mentioned above (being open, trustworthy, generative and courageous) are all given their own chapter and downloadable worksheets that they encourage senior management, middle management and front line employees to work through. It’s not an easy task. Talking about how you work personally and with other people (your employees and colleagues) is hard. I think the authors do a great job of walking you through it step by step so that everyone will feel comfortable in the process.