Meet the C-Suite on Social Business – What do I recommend a CEO?


Meet the C-Suite

In a study of more than 1,700 chief executive officers in 64 countries, IBM sought to understand how CEOs respond to the complexity of increasingly interconnected organizations, markets, societies and governments. In this new connected era, which has helped to fundamentally change how people engage, leaders are finally recognizing that they need change accordingly. As a result, IBM found that CEOs are creating more open and collaborative cultures, encouraging employees to connect, and learning from each other to thrive in a world of rapid change.

In the study,

  • Collaboration is the number-one trait CEOs are seeking in their employees, with 75% of CEOs calling it critical.
  • More than 70 percent of CEOs are seeking a better understanding of individual customer needs and improved responsiveness.
  • More than half of all CEOs are partnering extensively to drive innovation.

With the emergence of mobile, cloud and social technologies, today’s CEOs are leading through unchartered territories and can’t always refer to the predecessors for advice. To steer their organizations effectively, the IBM study revealed three leadership traits that CEOs feel are most critical: inspirational leadership, customer obsession and leadership teaming across the C-suite.

Clearly, the evolution of chief executives as leaders can directly impact their organizations’ behavior, culture and results. As such, it’s the CEO’s responsibility to be in touch with the reality their employees and customers face. For some, that means being on social media or roaming the halls to learn how people are working (or not working) or actively engaging with stores, products and services.

I am speaking today at the CEO Academy in Zurich in Switzerland. Do I recommend the CEO’s attending to be on Twitter or another social network as a general guideline? Probably not. I had enough discussions the last years about “ghost blogging ” and “ghost tweeting”. I don’t believe in it, to be honest. Yes, a CEO (and any other C-level executive) should ask for help and should get help from his staff to become more social. But there needs to be some serious personal commitment and involvement by the CEO. Otherwise it becomes “Social Messaging Blabla”.

To be as an CEO in Social Media is one thing, which can be done. There are other tactics, which should be considered:

  • Do Social Media Monitoring, Listening and Responding.
  • Have a Social Media Response & Escalation plan in place.
  • Establish Social Evangelists and promote them.
  • Have Social Media Guidelines and train people on Social.
  • Use Social internally. Socialize your intranet and unveil the power of Social within the enterprise.
  • In a next step: Set up customer communities, open your enterprise for sociual communication and input

But I probably shouldn’t publish my whole story yet …

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