Google Reflects the Challenges of Digital

In a post at Monday Note#, Frederic Filloux points out two issues Google is facing:

  1. Google’s disconnect from the outside world keeps growing.
  2. Google has a chronic communication problem.

They have in common with many brands that are overly focused on (digital) optimization. It is more obvious in brands optimizing for digital, why the parenthesis.

Organizational Selfie

Any organization that focuses too much on itself tends to seek like-minded and like-looking individuals to join its ranks. This can go on for years undetected, and it can cause both short- and long-term myopia. It is hard to detect because the system looks to reinforce itself and differences are manifest mostly as soft skills.

Agencies are as guilty of this as corporations.

A few years ago, we worked on uncovering the business development profile of a company by mapping the aptitudes and profiles of several groups within the organization. What we discovered was stunning — the company kept hiring the same persona over and over again and it was missing critical skills.

How do you select your team?

Ready, fire, aim

Look closely at the reasons why so many organizations fail at social and you will see communication problems.

Communication is the mechanism that builds community, and alas many organizations confuse company meetings and PR announcements as all there is to it. Using communications effectively means learning to collaborate, including with your users, sacrificing the secret cows, and so on.

For one, taking action without measuring the consequences is an invitation for unintended outcomes. For seconds, take a closer look at some organizations that profess to be data driven, look especially at their internal processes and you will see how random, opinion- and perception-based they are.

Externally, observe what a company does when questioned. It's easy to do, search for customer reviews — what patterns show up over and over again? Then see if the company ever responds, or at least acknowledges the issues by addressing them in its FAQs with solid data points.

It is hard to not fall into these traps; it takes work and deliberate practice to cultivate a culture of open diversity (in all aspects, including thought) and a mindset of collaborative communication.

The rewards outweighing the work should provide sufficient incentive. And incentives is a great place to start when you want to make a change.


Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effect on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.