Phil Livingstone
Phil Livingstone 28 June 2016

Why Every Company Needs a Social CEO

Charismatic leadership is a tremendous asset for any company but how many CEO's have really embraced social media? It can be an effective tool to communicate and can sometimes be seen as a positive signal of change internally (allowing for better visibility and interaction), not to mention the benefits externally. Reputation damaging or a great platform to for active leadership...

There are a few sayings that really resonate with me ‘drinking our own champagne’ or ‘eating our own dog food’. They generally mean the same thing and simply describes a company using its own products or services. You could equally apply this thinking to behaviour. Leading by example.

The modern CEO has to wear many hats. Sets the vision, inspires and motivates people to engage with and ultimately deliver that vision. Time is precious but equally CEOs cannot be everywhere and talk to everyone in the company.

Traditionally many CEO’s have relied on management teams for business updates and performance reporting. Conference calls are scheduled for updates on the company.  ‘New news’ makes it to intranet sites and occasionally you may get an email with business information. Why are most CEOs still reluctant to use social?

Park the obvious personal attacks and inherent risks that may create uncertainty and unease. These will always exist. Just as social media has given every person, every customer a voice; it’s also given business leaders an opportunity. Few take it up.

Internally, social media allows CEOs to narrate their company news faster. It is a great way to connect with colleagues, to listen to them, to find out about problems early, make them feel valued, no matter how large or geographically spread the organisation is. Employees will see you as an open, transparent leader.

For CEO's still not convinced , read this great article for all the statistics - The Social Imperative for CEOs

Social media reaches parts of their company that perhaps might not engage with company emails or intranet sites. It’s something that can really add value to their working life. It helps to amplify your voice, to foster internal collaboration, to build a support network, provides a platform to share ideas or simply just a great tool for modern internal communication. Just embrace it.

Charismatic leadership is a tremendous asset for any company. Paul Frampton (UK Chief Executive of Havas Media Group) sums it up pretty well, "Leaders that truly get it recognise that social allows them to walk the floor virtually, interact and gather inspiration from their talent, whilst getting real-time updates on the direction of the business. When this example is set, others will share and communicate more freely and this networked model creates natural collaboration and shared value."

As technology continues to disrupt businesses, today’s executives not only need to be knowledgeable about social media channels, but increasingly they will need to possess the skills that allows them to navigate a modern working environment.

We check our phones 200 times a day, so why not spend 30 seconds updating the entire workforce through social media, it provides new opportunities for conversation, knowledge gathering and relationship building after all you buy into the leader before buying into the vision.

Don’t look at social media as reputation damaging when it can really be an opportunity for improving your practice of leadership.

My advice to CEOs is to learn how to lead others by examining the leaders you admire. Chances are they have already embraced social media. Follow their example and listen to their advice. 

Set aside 15 to 30 minutes a day to read the articles that resonate with you, update the company, and thank someone via Twitter. Make this the first or last thing you do during the day. Who knows, you might be pleasantly surprised by the response.

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