Human Barriers

We encounter roadblocks throughout our careers, some more challenging than others and each with a unique course to get us through. With the continually evolving social space lies an equally evolving wall that we have to be able and willing to tackle.

Companies are evolving past the stage of ‘shiny toys’ and are taking their strategy a step further and stretching it across departmental functions outside of marketing and aligning it with their overall business goals – an approach that becomes ingrained and an extension of the organization vs. one siloed focus.

Human Barriers

With this evolution come internal challenges. There are various obstacles that we come across but the one at the forefront is of the human kind. Changes in a business’ culture and how they’ve been accustomed to operating is as much about the people and behaviors as it is the strategies that they’re leading.

So, what do these human barriers look like and how do we get through them? Below are some challenges we’ve seen and a few highlights on how-to proactively and positively break-through those barriers:


  • Silos: yes, everyone’s favorite poster child when it comes to internal challenges. I don’t need to go into detail about this challenge but we all know that they still exist where teams don’t see the benefit of a cohesive vs. singular approach to the business
  • Pushback: this happens at various levels. Pushback occurs at both early and late stages in the game when working with teams on an integrated approach that push the boundaries of what they’re accustomed to. They may have gotten to one level in the overall vision but can get stuck and hesitant at the next one
  • Running rogue: one of my personal favorites (not) is the challenge of a herd of employees who are ‘interested’ in social and want to create every page and profile under the sun on as many platforms as possible


  • Education: in managing any sort of change, the biggest hill to climb is education. There are new business concepts, technologies, and vernacular that are foreign to those you see as a barrier. This process is more than just a couple presentations to team members – you need to bring these team members into the meat and potatoes of what you envision. Knowledge sharing is one thing but making them a part of the process and acknowledging their continued growth helps to gain their trust and understanding in this stage
  • Structure: change and unfamiliar territory naturally creates discomfort for people. Creating structure and building process is important when trying to rope other departments/teams into a new landscape. Clearly define your strategy, what your goals are, the guardrails in accomplishing those goals and how you envision team X helping in the business’ growth in social. Make them feel like an integral part of the plan and not just a one-off (see, it works both ways)

The double-edged sword

  • Support: this one deserves its own category because depending on your organization, it could fall in either of the above categories. Internal support is a bit of a no-brainer, as it is critical in helping alleviate cultural clashes and helps support social and the vision for the organization. On the same token, this is also a potential barrier that could break your attempts at trying to slowly massage the thinking of those very people you’re trying to help along this evolving social path. There needs to be complete alignment, openness and trust with leadership and your team/goals for these barriers to come down in a positive and efficient way. Without those aspects lining up, the reverse could happen and leadership either thwarting your actions or diverting it into an entirely new direction that strays away from the original vision

I only added a few key challenges and opportunities here but want to leave the rest open to you. What other areas do you feel are barriers and how can we work to get past them?

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