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On Wednesday I attended Mike Collins’ talk on Social Leaders. This was a really  inspiring session so when I returned to work on Thursday I felt it would be useful to share this with my colleagues

Mike gave a brief overview of how Social tools can help the Leaders of today. (Video below)

Developing the Next Generation of Social Leaders - Bridging the Gap

It was made immediately clear that business need to examine the way that they view Social Media.  Businesses see Social Media within the context of Facebook but don’t often examine options that may be useful to them or even consider providing their own internal tools.

Social Media is first and foremost about Engagement, about providing an open 2 way communication channel.

Social tools help staff to become aware of the decisions that are being made and the reasons behind these decisions. It provides transparency to the leadership and gives them an opportunity to become more visible to their staff. It makes the leadership human.

Social tools also provide an excellent opportunity for collaboration especially when businesses are sometimes fragmented across several sites.

My Thoughts...

Social Tools provides a great opportunity to address a perceived issue of Leadership visibility. I appreciate that there is a reluctance to discuss business issues on external sites as this can be seen by anybody. However I do believe that there is a strong case to use a business specific version of something like Twitter.

If this was taken up by Senior Leaders and used regularly it will help people to understand where they are and what they are doing. When decisions are made live Q&A sessions could be held using social tools so that staff understand the decisions that have been made and become engaged with them. These tools could also be used when running large events or department meetings. It may also be appropriate for some “tweets” to be made from Senior Leadership meetings (although I appreciate that there is a lot that could not be shared).

All of this will open a whole new line of communication for staff and I believe increase the number of “Great Ideas” that are produced.

There is also a great opportunity that this can be used to gain instant feedback on an idea or on a question that somebody in the business may have. Projects may be able to use this kind of tool to discuss ideas or bring SME’s in to get extra opinions on a subject.

There are also great opportunities for this to be used within Learning by posing questions via Social tools to evaluate understanding.

My Question for you.......

The big question for me is how do you convince a business that they should expend money on a Twitter esc internal communications system?

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Comments

  • The link has now been added to the recording of the session

  • Hi Richard

    Great post and I'm chuffed to bits that you went away after the talk and posted this on your internal network. Is this Chatter you use? Have you had any responses / views?

    This is exactly what I had hoped the message would be and you've demonstrated exactly what is needed, you've gone away and used the tools to spread your ideas and thoughts. A great leadership quality btw.

    When I was at RBS Insurance - we were being sold and a new organisation was being created so to help create a new identity and new values, the Comms Dept commissioned the build of a bespoke online network. It didn't have as many features as a Facebook or Twitter but it allowed polls and discussions in three key areas. Best for Customers,Best for People, Best for Stakeholders - the site was called the BEST quest site btw ;-)

    It was a revelation and some people jumped on the opportunity and started posting straight away with their ideas or with their issues (people were careful not to be perceived as negative of course) but it quickly grew and grew and more people joined. The biggest things that made a difference was that Paul Geddes the CEO would actually respond to discussions and raise points as would some senior managers in the organisation. This was fantastic for two reasons - 1) visibility and the fact that they were putting the time to this 2) If they were doing it then it was OK for everyone else to do it.

    There is still a huge perception that spending time on these sites and using networks and social tools doesn't help the business or each other when in actual fact it's the opposite and when used correctly they are a huge business benefit in supporting communication, collaboration, agility, responsiveness and engagement. It did take some time for the culture to shift that it was OK to communicate this way and gripes and issues were being listened to as they were being done in a public forum - they couldn't be ignored! By no means was everyone using it and when I left 5K out of 15K workforce had resgistered and a far fewer number than this was posting but people were lurking, reading, learning and finding out what the ideas and issue being raised were.

    Great ideas were recognised and people started to become known for contributing great ideas and adding valuable comments and adding links to resources. The internal community had begun and it was a predecessor to an enterprise network and the behavioural shift had started. @NickEmmett is worth following as he picked up where I left off and is lookign at SharePoint / Yammer and SuccessFactors Jam as an enterprise network

    OK it took the business to be sold and a complete revamp of corporate identity to bring about the opportunity but this is key - there must be a valid reason for using social tools and that reason needs to be endorsed and supported by the people doing it otherwise it will not work. Find the need then demonstrate the value.

    Talent and future leaders were appearing all over the place having been given a forum to show what they knew and what value they could add. Our existing leaders would pop up when they can and encourage and nurture and then remove barriers to improve things. I myself was able to get involved in so much more than my job description detailed all through my contributions on the network and my profile grew positively within the organisation.

    Yes you need the platform and the tools but you need the behaviours and the willingness to share what you know to make it work - technology is not the focus but what it enables and the value it creates.

    You might find the below posts useful

    Social business still not understood

    Three reasons to cultivate communities of practice in enterprise ne...

    Thanks for the post and stimulating some discussion on the subject

    Mike (ps get your profile picture added ;-)

This reply was deleted.

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