For the Innovation Leader, It’s Time to Get Social

For the Innovation Leader, It’s Time to Get Social

I have to admit that I was skeptical about social media in the beginning. I could see there was potential connecting directly with customers, partners and other business leaders, but many of my colleagues and customers had not yet made the plunge. So rather than investing heavily into social media, I kept a “watching brief” on its progress. I dabbled and read. And I arranged meetings with experts who were actively experimenting with social media as a business tool to learn first hand what value they were finding. Many years down the track, social media has become a powerful way for businesses and business leaders to communicate, share information, make announcements and build communities. Richard Branson, CEO of the Virgin Group has actively cultivated a powerful online following that includes his LinkedIn blog posts, Facebook page likes and over 6.5 million followers on Twitter. It is a direct line of communication between one of the world’s leading innovators and his most engaged advocates. Do you think this impacts on the Virgin brand? Does it promote trust and connection? In a recent study, Forbes investigated the social media habits of CEOs from the Fortune 500, and found that while social media is a growing trend among CEOs, it is not pervasive. Of the 160 CEOs from the Fortune 500 with social media profiles, 79% only use LinkedIn. And only 8.3% use Twitter. Given that Twitter is fast becoming the “pulse of the planet”, I fully expect to see some shift here. Especially from leaders who are setting an innovation agenda. Leaders like Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors...
Digital Hollywood: Personal Branding and Company Identity

Digital Hollywood: Personal Branding and Company Identity

It can be a fine line balancing the role that you have as a leader within a business and the activities you undertake beyond the business. You may sit on the board of a not-for-profit organization. Or volunteer on weekends. Some of you may be athletes, running marathons, playing basketball or tennis. In my experience, the greatest business leaders also play strong and important roles in their communities. But in today’s always-connected world, it’s easy for our personal and professional activities and profiles to merge or blur into each other. How is this best handled? This week I am speaking on the “Personal Branding and Company Identity Panel” at Digital Hollywood. I am joined on the panel by Kirsty Spraggon, Executive Producer and Host KirstyTV, Motivational Speaker and Author; Michele Turner, CEO, Dictionary.com; Holly Liu, co-founder and Chief of Staff and Culture, Kabam; Kate Neligan, Founder, Synergy TV Network; ConsciousRockStar Life Coach; Debra Fine, CEO, Fineline Foundation; Singer Songwriter. It will be moderated by Linda Sherman. If you can make it to the Ballroom Terrace, Ritz Carlton Hotel, Marina del Rey, be sure to say “hi”...
How Using Facebook Helps Leaders

How Using Facebook Helps Leaders

Whether we like it or not – and whether we are prepared or not – our businesses are becoming more networked and connected. Our colleagues and teams are no longer co-located but spread across locations, states and even countries. Welcome to the true, global virtual workforce. We can send email, use collaboration technologies and even video conference – but the technology has shifted significantly even in the last few years – and these now feel out-dated. Leaders can no longer rely on the technologies that have helped make many of us successful – we are increasingly turning to short and instant messaging for instant connection, activity streams for up-to-the-moment reports and big data for real time results and decision support. But leadership has never only been about technology. It is also – essentially – about people and performance. Where these new innovations have proven themselves has been in the area of performance. We are seeing gains in our competitive position, responsiveness to changing customer and stakeholder demands and in our ability to communicate, engage and motivate teams across the globe. However, leaders have, in general, been reticent to grapple with the human dimension of technology. And this is where social media comes into play. Taking a cue from leading management author, Gary Hamel, I have suggested previously that hackers are our future heroes, and that elements of hacker culture may help spur new forms of innovation and competitive advantage. But we should also be looking at some of the other transformations that are taking place. Hamel suggests that there are a whole series of behaviors that are fertile ground...
Customer Relationships from the Outside In

Customer Relationships from the Outside In

I can remember when customer relationship management (CRM) was the shiniest new toy in the IT bag of tricks. I was working with Tom Siebel and some of the smartest executives in the industry and we felt like we were ahead of the curve. Back then, contact management systems were the lifeblood of every business manager. We’d live or die by these vital records. And then, at Siebel Systems, we changed the game. We came to market with the right software solution at precisely the time in which enterprises craved these services. We had seen the trend coming and were able to move quickly and comprehensively to claim the lion’s share of the market opportunity. But where had this trend come from and how did we know it was going to reshape the landscape of enterprise technology. In my first article for Forbes.com, I talk about some of the thinking behind the work I am leading with SAP’s Premier Customer Network. You can read the full article here. Photo Credit: Augusto Carmo via...
Be Careful What You Tweet For

Be Careful What You Tweet For

One of the most powerful benefits of social media is that – as a form of media – it brings us closer to our readers. It brings us closer to our customers. In fact, it seems to strip away layers and layers of process, red tape and hierarchy at the click of a mouse. On sites like LinkedIn, I can find, connect to and communicate with business leaders the world over. Here on my blog I can share thoughts and ideas and receive feedback from some of the brightest minds of the business world. And it is a relatively simple process. Deceptively so. For while we have never been more connected, we are also more exposed. With social media we find both success and failure within our grasp. Some time ago, when I wrote about the work-life balance, I was of the opinion that we all live on a continuum – where sometimes our work lives take precedence and at others that our personal lives do. But social media is complicating this spectrum – what we say, do and even believe in one part of our lives can impact other parts. And not just other parts. Other people. Take, for example, the situation where Brooklyn based journalist Caitlin Curran found herself unemployed after participating in the Occupy Wall Street movement. In How Occupy Wall Street Cost Me My Job, Caitlin came face to face with the contradictions and complexities of this new world. With every tweet, blog post, status update, photo, video or podcast, we push ourselves – our individual selves into spaces and situations for which we are...

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...