The Kibbutz Model of Social Media

I have been thinking, for some time, about the different aspects of social media and how they can apply to the day-to-day challenges of leadership and the opportunities of business. In particular, I want to understand where social media can impact customer oriented thinking. Interestingly, for me, social media almost seems like a perfect storm of convergence. For example, just look at how: Technologies are getting easier to use – blogs make it easy for executives and non-technically savvy leaders to publish their thoughts and ideas on the internet People are attracted to ideas and connections – like moths to the flame, we all find topics that we are passionate about and engage in spirited conversation with others who share our passions Conversation and opinion rule – the conversations and opinions of customers are not only important online – they drive web traffic, promote products, deliver feedback, do a great job of marketing our offerings, and they can “encourage” a strong customer service ethic given their public nature Behaviors are shifting – we are becoming more used to “participating” in the online communities that form using social media But while social media applies easily to the marketing arm of your business – it strikes me that there are many ways to align social media and business value beyond just the marketing funnel. One such method would be to look at the complex models that govern the kibbutz. Let’s compare the elements and qualities of kibbutz and social media: Kibbutz Social media A form of unique rural community An online space which allows for the creation and curation of unique...

Striking the Right Balance

President Obama recently sparked an interesting dialogue about empathy when he stated that he would nominate a Supreme Court justice “who understands that justice isn’t about some abstract theory. … It is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives,” to replace the outgoing Justice David Souter.  In short, he wants someone with judicial empathy.  This has caused outrage from some and applause from others.  Regardless how you feel about this issue, it is interesting to see so much attention being paid to empathy within the context of the Supreme Court. Personally, I am a definite believer that empathy has a place in leadership and business in general.  That said, it must be properly balanced with power in order for long-lasting, sustainability to be achieved.  Karl Long wrote a wonderful piece discussing this balance.  Leaders must find a way to appeal to those that they lead and simultaneously command the respect of these individuals.  Some people respect a leader who demonstrates care and concern for them.  Others respect a powerful authority that leads based on a command and control approach.  I have written about a related topic in the past in a piece entitled “Democratic Dictatorship“.  In this piece I made the point that a leader is ultimately responsible to the organization’s best interests, not those of any particular individual.  However, to be clear, this does not imply that a leader cannot show empathy toward individuals within the organization.  On the contrary, it is often in the organization’s best interests to keep the people who work there satisfied.  In fact, loyalty expert Fred Reichheld, has...

We Are Only What We Do…

A recent series of articles from Canada’s The Globe and Mail newspaper featured Isadore Sharp’s new book, Four Seasons: The Story of a Business Philosophy. One thing that struck me when reading this was an expression that too many leaders don’t internalize nor demonstrate as often as they should: “We are only what we do, not what we say we are.” Of course, there are many variations of this mantra: “Walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk” or “Actions speak louder than words.” But when reading this piece, it hit me. These are not just words on a page or ancient words of wisdom that don’t have any real place in our modern day worlds. We all must read expressions like this and, as leaders, live them to their fullest intentions. Merely giving lip service to employees, partners, superiors, etc. does not make for an authentic leader. Too many leaders, along with their communications staff, spend too much time thinking about how to say whatever it is they need to say. And, for sure, I commend those with the gift of gab for whom communicating clearly and with well-chosen words comes easy. I’ve surely written about the tremendously valuable ability to communicate clearly on my blog over the past year and think it is, without a doubt, one of the most critical skills anyone in business [and it really isn’t nor should be limited at all to people working in the business world] can possess. However, as important as such communications are, the benefits from them can be completely eroded when the actions don’t support the words. How...

Got Questions? I’ll Offer Answers…

Following my webinar with Jo Miller, there were many questions asked about leadership, virtual teams, work-life balance, and the like. I offered answers to many of these questions and Jo posted them on her website. This exercise made me realize that there are many people who have questions about these topics but who might not have a resource to seek out the answers. As such, I’ve decided to try something new on my website. If anyone has questions related to business, leadership, management or similar topics, I’d like to offer myself as a resource to provide answers. Of course, it goes without saying that I am just one person with my own opinion. However, I have been working for many years and have held leadership positions in some of the best companies around, especially within the software industry. This all said, if you have a question and want someone else’s opinion, advice, etc., please feel free to post your questions in the comments section here. I will reply publicly so that all readers have a chance to learn from these exchanges. In fact, perhaps some of these questions will warrant full posts which I will feature on this site. I’m looking forward to hearing from...

Follow Up Questions from My Conversation with Jo Miller

Last week I had an opportunity to talk with Jo Miller, CEO of Women’s Leadership Coaching, and the many listeners who attended the webinar on office politics.  Our discussion prompted many questions from the listeners and in response to these questions, Jo and I took the opportunity to reply.  These questions and answers can be seen on the Women’s Leadership Coaching site by clicking here. I strongly encourage readers to click over and to explore not just the set of questions that arose from the office politics webinar, but to delve further into the Women’s Leadership Coaching site.  The webinar series is an excellent way to hear from various industry professionals on topics that are very relevant to those in the workforce. And in case you missed my discussion with Jo, you can find it...

My Conversation with Jo Miller of Women’s Leadership Coaching

Jo Miller, CEO of Women’s Leadership Coaching, and I will be talking about “Winning at the Game of Office Politics” on Tuesday, February 24 2009, 11:00am-12:00pm PST Some topics we’ll be addressing include: Is it possible to navigate office politics without becoming a political animal? Learn the difference between office politics and organizational awareness. Discover the unwritten “rules of the game” at work. Understand the dynamics of power and influence in your organization. Get a copy of the presentation and listen to the podcast by clicking...