“My passion is the social executive – or rather, bringing the social leader to organizations. Right now they are about as common as Blue Unicorns.”
-Jim Claussen A World Gone Social
It’s been almost 3 years since I wrote my first 140 “word” Twitter post and spent the next few hours in vain trying to post it. With no luck, I called a millennial friend who was kind enough to talk me through the limitation of characters, not words. Not long after that, I woke up one morning to a direct message from a colleague and follower letting me know about a horrible picture of me that was floating around the Twitterverse; of course I had to see it! By that evening I was sending my own direct message to my 150 followers apologizing for passing on the virus. As a newbie in the social media space, the little enthusiasm I had after being dragged in by a few of our own millennials was fading fast.
In my role as Chief Leadership Officer of Luck Companies, much of my time over the last few years has been spent in the critical and competitive space of attracting, retaining, and developing our current and future leaders. Given the urgency of this work and the many other things in my plate, I’m sure you can imagine what was going through my head when the aforementioned millennials approached me with the idea of going social in the fall of 2012. The words “you’ve got to be kidding me” seem to ring a bell. Never in my wildest dreams did I believe what would transpire over the next 30 months as a result of going social; and the gifts just keep coming, gifts that include:
Social as a Coaching Avatar
Hindu mythology defines an Avatar as an incarnate divine teacher. Every morning I wake up, the first thing I do is read a few posts to prepare myself for the day. Sometimes I may be looking for something specific, and others, just some good writing as a source of education and inspiration. Either way, whatever I am looking for seems to appear, and the words just seem to work.
Social as a Means to Connect with our Next Gen Workforce
There has been quite a bit written about the need for leaders becoming more vulnerable as a means to connect with the next generation workforce. And there are few things that can activate this behavior better than a sincere dose of reverse mentoring. Imagine my vulnerability in those early days with the countless mistakes and need for help from my millennial friends; help I still need today. Giving them the leadership and teaching reigns – mentoring me – has been one of the single greatest builders of our trust and relationships together; and we have a heck of a lot of fun along the way.
Social as a Means to Connect with the World
In Hay Groups report The New Rules of Engagement, they describe organizations in the digital age as having large windows; transparent organizations who are living in a fish bowl. In their words; “People are increasingly choosing to live their personal and professional lives in public: on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Flickr, chat forums, review sites and so on. Whether they like it or not, brands are now public property.” As leaders, we can choose to be part of this conversation by going social, affording us visibility to the dialogue, and the opportunity to participate in it. Few things are better for building trust and credibility for those at the top.
In Ted Coine and Mark Babbit’s book A World Gone Social the authors write; “We want organizations to become more transparent, more accountable. We want teams to continuously innovate and collaborate, rather than be throttled by hundred-year-old best practices. In a world gone social, we want businesses to become more human.” A great way to become this type of organization is for leaders to go first, modeling the way as an example for others to follow. And going social is clearly one of the best examples leaders can set when modeling transparency, accountability and collaboration. Cheers to the all the Blue Unicorns of the world.
First published at ValuesbasedLeader.com