CEOs need to lead by example. Then why are so many leaders reluctant to embrace social media technologies?
From participating in major social networking sites to supporting internal social learning management systems, the resources are easily available for business leaders to capitalize on the true business value the social technologies make readily available.
And, people are watching.
A recent Forbes Magazine online article by Josh James, founder of Omniture (now a part of Adobe) and current head of Domo, a data management company, discusses this very point. CEOs need to lead the way and set an example for the organization. Their lack of participation in incorporating innovative social media technologies is a major criticism of their leadership.
This is what Josh stated, “Consider the results of a recent BRANDfog survey: employees feel that companies with CEOs who use social media are much better positioned for success. In addition to enhancing the brand, employees believe that social CEOs help the company on most every front including recruiting, trustworthiness and sales.”
While the survey results cited in the quote were not made available, I do not believe it is a giant leap of faith to internalize his position.
Stakeholders and staff are watching their leaders. What they do, the direction they provide and how they do it are all under observation from all parties involved with an organization.
Social media is now a critical piece of the executive leadership strategy that needs to be better capitalized on. The approach doesn’t have to be all public. By bringing social media and social learning tools in-house to control security, increase employee engagement and communication is an easy decision to make that will a significant change in the organization.
With Microsoft’s recent purchase of Yammer, they have positioned themselves to build upon the same concepts by bringing collaboration tools into their Office suite. Another indicator is the growing popularity of affordable social learning management systems that provide resources similar to the the major social networking site, but you can easily bring them in-house, branded and secure, while providing an engaging online learning experience employees will be thankful for.
Josh summarizes the importance for CEOs to leverage social media resources with, “The point is that CEOs need to champion innovation wherever it exists. Social media is just one form of innovation, and you can be sure there is much more coming down the pike.
It is my hope that CEOs come to believe in the transformative power of social media. But if they persist in lagging far behind the general population in social media participation and not delivering value to the shareholders that is there for the taking, they may not be CEOs for much longer.”
Well stated. I believe that CEOs get their jobs because they are rational business leaders (OK – this may not be a standard rule). This means that seeing value in business decision tends to influences CEOs decision making.
Following that line of thought, I have included an excellent chart of social technologies readily available for use and their corresponding value. This was origionally posted in my blog Social Learning Value Explained and many found it very helpful in framing the discussion on why the move to better using social learning management tools needs to take place sooner, rather than later.
|SOCIAL TECHNOLOGIES AND PROCESSES FOR INTERNAL USE|
|Social Tool Use Case||Translation||Value|
|Blog for executives and subject matter experts||Be more productive, interact with a lot more people, and repeat yourself less.||Cuts duplicate effort, improves personal relationships, and provides faster action and reaction times.|
|Discussion board for project status updates||Reduce email clutter and time lost managing it; centralize information so it’s easy to find even after employees leave.||Saves up to 2 hours per day per person not having to manage project-related email, and increases knowledge capture and visibility.|
|Wiki for review cycles||Cut down on time wasted finding the current version of documents and editing the wrong versions.||Provides faster feedback and ensures you’re always contributing to the most current information. Cuts wasted effort.|
|Microblog for work updates among teams||Reduce or eliminate project status meetings while staying more aware of project status.||Saves up to four hours per person per week in time previously spent in meetings.|
|Internal social network that centralizes employee profiles and includes tags and expertise fields.||More easily find subject experts in your organization.||Reduces duplicate work, increases innovation, and cuts time spent looking for information.|
|Online chat tool that lets employees ask HR questions||Lets you easily locate policies, documents, and other HR info||Centralizes more of the HR team and reduces time spent looking for HR information.|
|SOCIAL TECHNOLOGIES AND PROCESSES FOR EXTERNAL USE|
|Social Tool Use Case||Translation||Value|
|Customer support forums||Give customers a place where they can connect, create niche support documentation, and help each other||Decreases time to answers to questions, cuts number of support queries, and encourages innovative uses of products and services.|
|Drive word of mouth by sharing blogs, videos, podcasts, and other content on social networks||Educate the market about your product by encouraging people to share content with their connections.||Reduces cost of sales and customer churn because customer is educated before sale.|
|Engage influencers||Provide those most likely to drive positive results for your company with access and value.||Provides market credibility, positive market impression, and sales.|
|Co-innovate and crowdsource ideas||Solicit and vet ideas from and assess risks with a broader audience then you could in person.||Increases the percentage of successful new products and features, and reduces risks.|
|Use a community to extend the value of an event||Reach 10 times the number of attendees by enabling participants to share and discuss event content before and after.||Increases the relevance and audience for your event investment.|
CEOs are under a lot of pressure and now, their activities (and lack their of) have become more transparent. Stakeholders and employees are looking at their business leaders for guidance and confidence.
The leaders who step up and show that they can embrace the new world of social interaction that can be used to drive business growth will be the leaders that will continue to be successful.
Getting started is easier than many may think. If you are ready to see just how a social learning management system (LMS) can enhance your business, you can request a personal demonstration of the social LMS, TOPYX.
TOPYX social LMS has worked with companies of all sizes to successfully bring social learning management into their business.
Social technologies are going to continue to grow and change how the world interacts. It will also be the difference between leading organizations and those unable to change – and stakeholders are watching to see how CEOs will act.
Jeffrey A. Roth
Vice President, Marketing and Communications