Jul 28, 2010

Hay Group on Leadership and Social Media

It's great that blue chip HR Consulting firm - The Hay Group has blogged about Social Leaders and is heartening to know that concepts on Leadership in the Open Organization that I have blogged about in the past is being seen as mainstream enough by such firm. Hope conservative organizations - which have mostly followed the herd will now be convinced to move from the fence they have been sitting on and become more Open organizations a.k.a. Organization 2.0 (see my presentation - Why Organization 2.0?)

In the blog post Paul Bleier writes:
Thanks to the Social Media Revolution taking place, many organizations are starting to see clear value and benefit to becoming more open and less formal in their approach to engagement. For leaders within these organizations, championing such out-of-the-box thinking has not been an easy task due to the lack of discrete measures against success. Before receiving the necessary executive level buy-in to invest both time and money to operate within these online channels, demonstration of tangible bottom-line benefits were required. Today, social media ROI success stories and case studies are plentiful and provide compelling evidence for organizations to embrace openness and recognize the importance in promoting, developing and retaining the very best social leaders. Fueled by collapsing boundaries, increased competitiveness and demanding customers, social leaders have an uncanny ability to capture real-time market realties while effortlessly extracting hidden value from crowds using multiple online communication channels and common social media tools (such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc).

A summary of these benefits included:

* clearer and more consistent corporate visions and strategies
* access to unexpected knowledge capital outside of the formal organizational structure
* increased stakeholder ownership and accountability
* improved corporate social responsibility.

When I began this research, Facebook was frowned upon as a waste of time, LinkedIn was solely thought of as a recruitment tool and the notion of a twittering CEO would have been laughed at. How the times have changed. No one has done it better than Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com who has amassed a Twitter following of 1.7 million users by transforming his organization into a well-oiled customer service machine that delivers happiness to employees and customers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Using social media, Tony publicly shares the core values of his company as well as his leadership philosophies that have grown Zappos to $1 billion in gross revenue in just 10 short years. He is an exemplary social leader who models a culture of trust, love and respect for his devoted employees so that they can in turn apply the same principles for the betterment of the organization and the customers they ultimately serve.

And then there is Martha Stewart with her nearly two million Twitter followers and an official blog that has aided her in repairing her public image by extending her iconic brand deep into cyberspace. A relatively newcomer is the always charismatic Richard Branson, Chairman of the Virgin Group, who has over 400,ooo Twitter followers who tune-in daily for a dose of all things Virgin. Richard routinely tweets about the places he goes, the interesting people he meets and even drops hints about future promotions and new products and services scheduled to launch under the Virgin brand. Other present and past CEOs that have become strong social leaders worth following include: George Colony, CEO of Forrester Research, Nancy Lublin, CEO of DoSomething.org, Peter Aceto, CEO of ING Direct Canada, Bill Gates, Former CEO of Microsoft and Jack Welch, Former Chairman and CEO of General Electric.