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PUSH by Steve Snodgrass

Change is thrilling. Change is scary. Change is rejuvenating. Change is fast. Change is slow. Change happens.

My consulting endeavors take me all over the country and onto campuses of all shapes and sizes. Most of the time, I'm brought in to talk about social media and strategic communications. What generally happens is that social media are the lead-in to a greater conversation about organizational change and organizational communication. Organizations are usually eager to talk about change with an outsider like myself. I stroll onto campus and bring a new voice to the table. A lot of conversations about change consist of an "airing of grievances" or issues that the organization is dealing with. Oftentimes, I serve as sort of a sponge for these items. Reflecting on them and coming up with solutions, I try to extract the bad and promote the good. It sounds fairly simple, and you may be wondering what this has to do with social media, but everything within an organization is connected. If an organization cannot change how it operates on a regular basis, then it will definitely have issues with adopting social media into its structures.

I was told by one organization that they didn't need to know about the basics for using social media and that they wanted to know "the next steps." My first question in response to their request: "What are you waiting for?" The organization was making moves in the sense that they had brought in an outside consultant, but they were stuck in the space between knowing that they should be doing something different and actually acting upon that information. My job was to push the start button and give everyone a boost.

One theme that is present at many schools is that there are always several people who truly "get it." People who are internally championing new initiatives and willing to experiment to improve and evolve. I immediately gravitate towards those individuals. My job is to help them in indirect ways. They know what to do. I connect the champions with the decision-makers. Ideally, they are one in the same, but that's not always the case. Getting people in leadership positions to acknowledge their internal champions is such a positive step towards organizational change. In my case, improved organizational communication - both internally and externally - via social media is the desired outcome.

It's the process of how change occurs, and the people who are at the forefront of it, that make all of the difference. Social media are not new. Organizations either evolve or they disappear. You have amazing people on your team. What are you waiting for?


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