Calling All Leaders (Managers and Executives)
Are you a “social” leader?
Have you found your Blue Unicorn?
Blue Unicorns are the rare leaders who are transforming their leadership for today’s connected social economy. Today’s workforce is engaged in social. Today’s customers are consulting their networks for recommendations and using social proof to guide purchases.
The question to ask yourself is… how social are you?
- Hearing what’s important to employees requires that YOU be social.
- Hearing what your competition is saying to your customers requires that YOU be social.
- Blue Unicorns are social leaders who get it – they are leaders who are adapting and shifting HOW they engage with their stakeholders, their customers, their partners, their market influencers, their teams.
- Blue Unicorns are enjoying significant competitive advantage.
In “A World Gone Social”, Mark Babbitt and Ted Coiné talk about leadership in today’s business environment, an environment that’s social, connected and about open conversation.
My recommendation is to embrace the change, understand the competitive advantages and invest in yourself, your career, your organization… your future.
How to find the Blue Unicorn in you. Here are 10 tips to stand out, lead with greater influence and expand your impact:
1. Have a point of view.
Have a vision and share it. Think about your values and share them. People want to follow someone who actually leads. Standing for something and having the courage to share it, will attract people aligned to your mission and purpose.
2. Build a digital platform.
Beyond engagement in social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Shocase or others, build a home base that you own, you control from which you can share your insights and point of view — start a blog. A blog enables you to build a community, engage in dialog, and listen to feedback. Few executives make the minimal investment required to start and build a blog, presenting a fantastic opportunity for the intentional leader looking to stand out in today’s connected mark place.
3. Who are you.
In your Shocase and LinkedIn Profiles and Twitter Bio, articulate what’s unique about you – what’s your point of view, what value do you offer, what experience do you have. Share some personal. The goal is to share what’s special and unique about you. Remember, you know more than you think you do, with more valuable experience than you may think you have – share it.
Share images of you. Engaging with your team, your customers, your community provides an inside view, a behind-the-scenes perspective of you leading your organization. You have no idea how strongly people appreciate this and will respond to this. For a great example, you can take a look at Richard Branson. Images help people connect with you. Images create a sense of vulnerability and openness that people are drawn to. Images bring humanity into digital engagement, and really help to connect people with people. Among the few executives who do engage in social, very very few share images to create these kinds of relationships.
5. Provide context.
One of the most valuable and valued things you can do in today’s interconnected world, is provide context and meaning to business strategy, plans, partnerships, performance, markets, solutions, trends. For example, the analyst firm IDC shares a new study on X trend in your industry – this presents a wonderful opportunity for you to share AND provide your perspective on this trend and the opportunities for your customers, partners, suppliers….
6. Mission and purpose.
Thought leadership is predicated on mission and purpose. Be intentional about the mission of your organization, the purpose you serve and the change you aim to make in the world. Be clear and be concise. If you don’t have this ready, work with your inner circle to net this down into a succinct message. This then becomes that platform, the foundation for the context, insights, perspectives and leadership you share in social.
Tell stories. More than anything else, humans are wired for stories. Use stories to share your leadership point of view. Stories engage people and will help people engage with you.
8. Thank you.
These are the two most powerful words in social. Take time to say ‘thank you’ to a customer, to a partner, to a supplier, to an employee…. in social. Acknowledgement and recognition in social is the most powerful form of appreciation you can offer. Here, the more you give, the more goodwill will come your way. As they say, ‘what goes around, comes around.’ This is probably the most powerful thing you can do in social.
The best communicators are great listeners. Understanding your workforce, your customers, your partners starts with listening. Acknowledging their opinions, views, perspectives and experiences openly in social, is an incredibly powerful way to help people feel ‘heard.’ Don’t ever underestimate the positive effect this can have in drawing people to your brand and your organization.
Share what excites you and get’s you fired up. What gets you jumping out of bed every morning? What drives you to work those insane hours? Share this with your followers, your community. Passion and attitude are contagious. Passion goes viral. Nothing can amplify your standing in social more than sharing what you are passionate about. For an example, look to Elon Musk who frequently shares his passion for rocket and car design and engineering. Passion is what separate greatness from mediocrity.
Try these tips. Engage your workforce and your customers through social. This is about a shift; it’s a journey made by small steps. The key is to start now.
If you find this interesting and want to better understand the changing social environment and how to thrive, check out “A World Gone Social” by @MarkSBabbitt and @TedCoine. Chapter 10 is my favorite ;).
About the Author:
Jim Claussen is a Senior Strategy Manager for Social Business at IBM and the founder of ExecutiveSocialAcademy.com. Jim enjoys helping people and organizations lead, influence and amplify in today’s digital and connected economy, to make a bigger, more positive impact. When Jim’s not blogging, podcasting or coaching to re-imagine the enterprise, he’s usually doing something active outside with his family.