Most business people passionate about Social Media are trying to figure out how to help lead their organizations into this realm. I am one of those people. How bout you? I have discovered, over the past several months, this process is easier said than done.
For me, and perhaps you, the picture is crystal clear. Our world has changed… markedly. The great recession did that. The emergence of Web 2.0 technology certainly was a major factor. Most importantly we, as consumers and business people, have changed the way we think about interacting with one another.
Customers are clear about their expectations. They want social business partners that are tech-savvy, collaborative, strategic, and open communicators. And… the conversation takes place on the Social Web.
A social business is an organization designed consciously around sociality and social tools, as a response to a changed world and the emergence of the social web. –Wikipedia
In order for a company to effectively transition to a social culture, there must be C-Level executive buy-in. In many cases that is not happening. Without top leadership support, it is nearly impossible to deploy an effective social business strategy across an entire enterprise. Instead it shows up in pockets led by “maverick” or “rogue” social enthusiasts. Confusion regarding management expectations may eventually lead to abandonment, or non-interest, in the strategy altogether.
Board Room Vs. The Trenches
It’s fair to say that what happens in a board room is distinctly different than what the rest of us experience in the trenches. Think about it… upper executives are charged with the responsibility of catering to Boards, Holding companies, and Stockholders. Their priorities are different than ours. Even, with the “New Normal” of doing business that hasn’t changed.
Middle Managers, on the other hand, already at least embrace the basics of a business 2.0 culture. They understand the importance of it, as they stand alongside their team members, interacting with customers every single day.
So what’s the solution? How do we get everyone on to the same page? How do we align the demands of owners, stockholders and holding companies with customer expectations. I have some thoughts on this.
A Social Seat at the Table
What better way to resolve the “disconnect” than to create a C-Level position that will focus on leading a company into the social realm. Recently I met a guy, Scott Koslosky, who by all accounts would qualify for a position of this nature. Interestingly Scott, a former CEO of three start-up companies is no stranger to the boardroom. He is also a social technology guru and frequently speaks at events on the subject.
“Interesting that some of the larger brands are starting to interview for the position of Chief Social Officer. I would love that job!” –Scott Koslosky, Twitter, July 23, 2010
That’s pretty interesting! In fact, I think it would be pivotal, in most businesses, to establish a position of this nature. Having a C-Level Executive in place who not only speaks the language of the boardroom, but is savvy and passionate about social business, might just be the medicine needed to propel an effective social business strategy forward, for most organizations.
What do you think? How is your organization’s social business strategy evolving? Or is it? Look forward to hearing from you.