For some time now I have thought about the difference between “Executive support” vs. “Executive engagement” when it comes to Social Business Strategy and Adoption. Especially during the production of our Social Business Cookbook. Support is the easy one to attain, for instance having C-level executives agree that “moving forward with Enterprise Social Business activities are good for the company, and we endorse it”. But it is not worth that much really. Grounds-up adoption will happen in any case, slowly but steady. However if you want to speed things up (and it is a competitive world out there, can you afford going slow?) then personal engagement is needed. Executives must vote with their feet; show instead of tell; walk the talk; etc.
And it is not that hard. For us who are already collaborating and engaging, we know that it doesn’t have to take so much time. Even 5 minutes a day is enough to spark new energy, networking, and collaboration. So why is not ALL Executives doing this (I say “all” since I know there are some who does)? If you’re an Executive, you tell me.
Is it since you don’t see the value? Or you don’t know where to start? Or you think it takes up to much time? What ever the reason, below are 5 simple ways you as an Executive (or Manager for that sake) can engage in the enterprise social network. And if you are one of them who can’t see the value, I’m sorry to disappoint you — you have to engage consistently to see it. So get started today.
1. Micro engagement Like other people’s work and contribution, even the smallest comments. It shows you are listening (well, reading) and caring, and it will make some heads nod and add credibility to the poster. Or “draw in” other people to the conversation (@-mention) who might benefit either from the ideas being discussed, or perhaps even better, has a solution to a problem.
2. Crowd source your strategy Ask your people to comment when you need feedback during the strategy process. You don’t have to reveal it all, but make it engaging so employees – cross organisations – can add their point of views. Not only will you perhaps surface ideas and considerations that might be golden. But you will for sure also increase the buy-in to the end result since people will feel they have been part of the journey.
3. Video and comments Next time you have your quarterly video update, post it to the network, and have people discuss and comment openly. You might think that you then risk people to bitch about all various things. But in reality, people have their personal reputation to think of, just like you. They will be balanced in their postings. And if you get to much negative stuff? Well, they would be saying that behind your back in anyway. Better to have it in the open so you can do something about it, right?
4. Iterative sharing of thoughts Stop your monthly looooong newsletters. No. One. Reads. It. Instead, start sharing successes, thoughts, challenges, etc. as small chunks and pieces. That way people will actually consume them, think about them, and probably act on them. And when at it, why not reverse it. Instead of asking for feedback once a month to add to the newsletter that “No. One. Reads.” ask you team to give short, iterative feedback — in the open. Great example of an agile organization in this blog post. Each day/week your team should just do a simple post, answering: “what I/we have done last week”, “what will I/we do this week”, and “what are the barriers moving forward”. You’ll get access to first hand insights, instead of deluded messages up the pyramid.
5. Endorse people People likes to be recognized for their expertise, the extra mile they go, their helping hand, etc. Those who say they don’t are lying. When you know of a person who have done something special – be that internally, externally, online, or offline – use the network to endorse them. Not only will it be positively received by the “do’er”, but it will also send an open signal to the organisation what excellence and “great instead of good” looks like. And the best part: it will cost you nothing, except for the 2 minutes of your time.
Most of the above examples can be done on a mobile device. Why do I say that? Well, most of you Executives will say that you don’t have the time. But at the same time you spend hours and even days traveling each week. How about spending 5 minutes the next time you are in a cab or airline queue, and do some micro engagement using your smartphone? To be honest, if you’re an Executive — the more people in your company that you can “touch” and connect with each week, the better it is. Show your employees that you are there for them.
Now, this is really basic stuff, and the post could have been titled “500 simple ways…” instead of just 5. We all know there are tons of great other examples out there, let them surface in the comments field. So when you read this, please contribute with one (1) example, thanks!
by Christian Carlsson | twitter.com/chris_carlsson