If it Clicks, it’s Social!

Our super charged, hyper-connected workforce needs active, social and open leaders. Cherish or perish! – Khalid Raza [Tweet this]

BRANDfog’s 2014: The Global, Social CEO survey results are out. It provides the crucial reality check which some of our leaders may not wish to see. The survey primarily focuses on the C-suite’s social media engagement and business leader involvement.

Here are the three results from this year’s 15-question survey:

  1. Social CEOs make better leaders: Between 2012 and 2013, the perception that C-Suite and executive participation in social media leads to better leadership, increased from 45% to 75%.
  2. Social CEO engagement leads to brand trust: A company whose C-Suite executives and leadership teams use social to communicate on core mission, brand values and purpose is more trustworthy.
  3. Social media is modern PR: One of the most insightful survey results is that social media has become the new age PR for executives, especially for brands in crisis.

None of this should be a surprise. We believe that being social and open helps us become more human, real and effective. Being social is not an event or a box to tick, it is who we are as people, it is a state of being! It is about transformation and reinvention. (Tweet this)

Social Leaders #SocialGlamor Khalid Raza

Legacy solutions and systems (like email and team rooms), still garner a lot of support from the leaders when it comes to implementation and usage. Social is too often the second choice solution for leaders and their management teams. If that continues as the modus operandi, Gartner research estimates that 80% of social business initiatives would deliver disappointing results over the next three years. Not surprising again!

This article from Gerald C (Jerry) Kane, an associate professor of information systems at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College, highlights three reasons why social business initiatives fail:

1. Managers go into social business with unclear goals.
2. Initiatives start as pilots, and then fizzle out due to modest participation.
3. Companies expect social initiatives, even pilots, to deliver a financial return on investment.

The problem lies at a very deeper and basic level – right in the minds of our leaders. The ‘change’ has been painful and agonizing.. Here’s one example:  continuing to rely on email is the ‘only’ or preferred way to work. Email, corporate intranets and knowledge management solutions are clearly not ‘old’ technologies, but in the context of true collaboration they are outdated, old school, and rely on  rigid methodologies, hierarchy and structures that don’t take full advantage of the free-form approach of enterprise social collaboration.

In IBM, we understand this challenge. Interestingly, the power and potential of social is also its biggest roadblock! Supporting efforts and enablement programs can only do so much. The journey of a leader to become social and open has to be undertaken by the leader himself or herself.

Here are a few steps every leader can do take to make social click for them:

  1. Identify your calling: Social won’t happen for you because it is happening for others! Find your own reason how social can make you a better leader, a better colleague, and find your own unique voice. Once you are cognizant of the reason, the rest of the journey will be easy. If social does not click for you, then you are in the wrong place. Many leaders skip this step.
  2. Focus on solving the problem: This means becoming more effective and productive. It can be knowledge-sharing, digital eminence, collaboration, sales, and knowledge-management. Don’t do it for a scorecard, do it for yourself. Or else you will fail.
  3. Social is all about authenticity and being real, aka organic: Unless you are a celebrity doing social to “be” what other people want you to be, inorganic social activity is a waste. It may gratify you for a bit, but it will do harm. Build your #socialglamor each day, with honest, sincere and vulnerable social participation.
  4. Define the end result you want and not the ROI: Emails do not have any ROI and we never ask for it. For social, return on investment comes up often.  Spend the time to visualize the success you want to achieve with social and that will put you on the right path.
  5. Walk the talk: Let go of control, be self-aware and vulnerable. Social is all about being out there, with everyone else on a level playing field.

Great leaders have always been about equality and inspiration. They knew that real value comes from merit and teamwork. The corporate creations of corner offices, private suites, concierge service and round tables made this less possible.

First few lines of this amazing video seal it for me.

“There are a lot of people, who say: ‘But I tried once or twice… and it didn’t work out’. And so they use that as an excuse not to ever come out again.”

I leave you with this.  How do you want to be remembered? As a person who clicks in the true spirit of social or someone for whom social needs to be clicked, a box to be ticked? Share your thoughts.

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One thought on “If it Clicks, it’s Social!

  1. […] and enablement. The biggest challenge any Enterprise Social Network (ESN) faces is adoption and behavioral change. In this case, it will not be a hindrance at […]

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