You can’t “own” a social network, but maybe you can teach it.

Posted: December 5th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Democratic businesses, Social networking | Tags: | No Comments »

Craig Stoltz writes that it’s a mistake for Obama or anyone else to look for ways to use his extensive social network to govern. Instead, the instigator (for lack of a better word) should/can use the social network as a place to listen to the community and, respectfully, to join the conversation.

So far, so good. But there’s another opportunity: if you’re part of the conversation, you can also teach people. That’s a lesson from democratic businesses, such as Jack Stack’s Springfield Remanufacturing. Stack committed a long time ago to an employee-run business, and found that training is crucial:

Nobody can think and act like an owner without understanding the basic rules of business….
We start with the idea that there are two things every company must do to stay in business: make money and generate cash…. [E]mployees learn about all the subtle and not-so-subtle challenges of doing these two things in the various industries in which we compete.

How could the Obama Administration encourage the development
of primers on key issues? On any contentious issue, various parties would want to have their say — I can’t imagine the conservative Club for Growth letting the Service Employees International Union frame the issue of labor organizing rules, or vice-versa, and neither organization would want to leave the framing to the Administration. Or perhaps the Administration could make available the information they’re considering as they come to policy decisions. Jack Stack relies on Open Book management. What’s the equivalent here?

Links: search Citizentools resource links for more information on open book management.