From time to time, we look at how Enterprise 2.0 practices are reaching into companies.

A recent post by Michael Idinopulos demonstrates how the premises for finding Enterprise 2.0 champions is often flawed. Too often the search is for the right personality. Instead, the focus of the search should really be for the people who are “exchanging knowledge, information, and ideas across large parts of the organization.”

Idinopulos compares it to how The Godfather’s Don Corleone would approach the issue when choosing the right people for the job: “It’s nothing personal. It’s just business.” In other words, people are chosen for their role in the organization not for who they are as people.

Let’s just say the “Godfather,” process is still not widely used. Often, managers look for the “it” factor. Here are a few of the more common things Idinopulos has heard managers say they are looking for:

  • The Young and Hip: “Jimmy’s only 28. He grew up on Facebook!”
  • The Tech-Savvy: “Mary’s always got the latest gadget. She’s a natural for this!”
  • The Connectors: “Martin knows everybody. He’s the ideal social networker!”
  • The Visionaries: “Isabel is so visionary. She’ll totally get what we’re trying to do!”

Idinopulos makes the point that these psychological attributes don’t work for a few reasons:

  • The premise that just a few have such talents is repudiated by the fact that it gets adopted by any number of people who don’t fit into any one category
  • They re not actionable. How can you scale this across an organization of 5,000 to 10,000 employees?
  • The signal does not transmit. Do you know the lonely social media evangelist? The one who finally just gives up and says people “just don’t get it.” The enthusiasm has to transfer to the organization.

It’s evident a methodology is emerging for how to make Enterprise 2.0 a deep institutional focus. Companies like the Dachis Group and Pragmatic Enterprise are pioneering new methods to help clients institute technologies and practices that fit with the social enterprise.

Dion Hinchcliffe and Michael Krigsman of Pragmatic Enterprise take a holistic approach. They look at the political, technical and business issues that come with any social Web initiative. They look for executive champions who want to use social technologies to solve a business problem. Once the problem is identified, a process begins that seeks out the spectrum of opinions about the

project and the use of Enterprise 2.0 practices for the group.

The business world is developing its own methods for how it makes social technologies a part of the business process. At times it may be surprising how the technologies get adopted. Idinopulos points to a marketing manager who turned out to be responsible for attracting thousands to a Socialtext environment that Idinopulos and his group had implemented for the company:

“Because the Marketing Manager’s commitment to social media wasn’t a personal thing, it transferred quickly to other parts of the business. Other Marketing groups got wind of the project, and started posting their own content, creating their own workspaces, starting their own conversations. Then it started to spread beyond Marketing, to Sales and Product groups that had initially participated as consumers of Marketing content. Marketing’s cross-silo reach positioned them to involve different parts of the organization, which then went on to do their own thing. That would not have happened if Marketing’s success had been a function of one person’s passion.”

The example is proof that the enthusiasm comes from how the social technologies help people in their work so the business can prosper. As the Godfather would say:

“It’s not personal. It’s just business.”