The Things Your CEO Needs To Know About Social Media

Chip was the best CEO. He was tanned from snow skiing, funny, kind and could take his teams scrambled ideas and turn them into epic PowerPoint presentations. He could talk to a factory employee as naturally as to a board pitch.  Relaxed and confident.

He was a great CEO.  Let’s face it.  CEO’s like that are rare.  CEO’s who try and be like Chip are very common.

Expectations about what makes a great CEO have helped create a legion of CEO’s trying to craft their fledging executive presence into rockstar aura. Well meaning PR, Comms and HR  folk have helped these CEO’s pick the right photos, get the right messaging and present the right town halls.

These aspirants have a lot to fear about social media.

The world of organisations are changing and if you are to be a kind mentor to your CEO here are a few things you better tell them.

Like - Awkward is the New Cool.

Just like geeks are now somehow sexy, the whole idea of an authentic but awkward leader is refreshingly appreciated.

During the last Australian election Julia Gilliard listened to the spinmeisters and stuck to the script, repeating the mantra.  The focus groups would not cooperate however and mid campaign these same spin merchants said she had to switch approach to reinvent herself to The Real Julia.  This of course did not work. Claiming to be real is like recycled yellow snow.  Never popular.

When you think about Australian politics this should not be a suprise.  It had been blessed or perhaps cursed with flawed but authentic politicians.  From the larrikin Bob Hawke, the arrogant Paul Keating, the fuddy duddy John Howard and the mysterious appeal of the nerdish, fangdangaglish Rudd.  The appeal was consistency of the approach - they were what they were. Flaws and all.

For CEO’s used to have professionals craft their messages the pressure is on.  The informal nature of social media allows an opportunity for employees and customers to find out about the real CEO.  Their flaws.  Their wit.  Their judgment.

They now have time.  Airports, elevators, bathrooms and in meetings.

They have the skills.  Anyone can tweet.

But do they have the story to tell?  

The answer is yes.  They can be themselves.  If it is awkward to begin with it may well be because they are a bit awkward.  And that is ok.

For years in lunchrooms and lounge rooms and closed door offices the real views about CEO’s are aired.  Whatever you are the only thing social media does is bring out the truth and makes it obvious and amplified.

So the first piece of advice for your CEO. 

Be authentic.  Be awkward if you must. Write your own stuff.  Be honest.  Share. Connect. Respond. 

You probably won’t be a rockstar but you can be a great CEO.
Surprise surprise... Women rock @ social media!

Lotusphere / IBM Connect has now kicked off and is looking to be another exciting event. I am currently sitting in the keynote opening session listening to a really good rock band (can’t remember the name, I am such a music Neanderthal :-/). But before things get kicked off proper I wanted to share something with you.

In my last blog post I blabbed on about my own social analytics demo, but now I want to turn the spotlight onto my demo neighbours in the Innovation Lab (Dolphin / Asia 3). They are a really great bunch of guys from the IBM Research Haifa lab, the SaND (Social Network & Discovery) research team. They kindly gave me a sneak preview of their demo which I wanted to share here, just to whet everyone’s appetite.

My Social Strategy for 2014...

Social media has changed a lot over the last 12 months - the “noise” seems to have increased exponentially while engagement seems to have dropped through the floor. I thought it was just me, but many of the social media professionals I’ve chatted to also have also noticed that their tweets and posts are only getting a fraction of the love they got the year before…

I think it’s fair to say that more people are just using social networks as discovery platforms, news networks or to simply check out events and photos from their friends.

Having decided that social media was taking up far too much of my time in 2013 (even though it is my job), I decided to make a plan to post much less content, but to manage it more effectively. Only so many hours in the day right? You might decide that you don’t need a plan, and that’s cool too - but if social media is part of your professional and personal life, I reckon having some form of a plan, no matter how small or simple - would make a big difference.

Mine is above. It’s pretty self explanatory. I’m aiming to create professional content for my day job at Adobe on our blogs and slideshare (hugely under-rated) —> talk to the people who matter most to me on Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter (using 4SQ data where relevant - especially for meetups) —> and then helping to amplify that content (if it’s any good) across G+, In, Pinterest and Sina Weibo (500m+ users and you’re still not using it?).

It’s not really rocket science, but in the midst of trying to decide how to spend much less of my time on social networks - I also came across the brilliant P.O.S.T process from Forrester on Nate Elliot’RaDaR report, suggesting 4 points to help brands become more effective with their content marketing. No doubt I’ll be talking a lot about it this year. 

THE P.O.S.T. Process by @Forrester

  1. People —> Review the social & interest graphs of your audience.
  2. Objectives —> Decide what your social goals are.
  3. Strategy —> Determine which social tactics best match your people and objectives.
  4. Technology —> Choose the vendors and tools that best support your plans.

So that’s it really. It looks good to me. Might not be your thing if you’re the organic and spontaneous type - but if like me you’ve found yourself struggling with social fatigue during 2013 (at the expense of spending time with real friends), then maybe having your own P.O.S.T strategy wouldn’t be a bad thing….

[DE] Die Ära der 9-bis-5 Job ist vorbei [INFOGRAPHIC]


Interesannte Grafik über das Wachstum der mobile Workforce. Das wird auch ein Thema auf dem IBM Social Business JamCamp am 19. und 20. Oktober sein. U.a. spricht Uwe Hauck über “Workplace of the future now”, wie man schon heute vollständig mobil arbeiten kann, Techniken, Trends, Fallstricke. Meine Kollegen René Werth und Hardy Gröger sprechen über IBM Mobility Strategien für Unternehmen.
Prove it! The Importance of Evidence

Some years ago I made a slightly tongue in cheek prediction that “Content is Dead”. Well, to be more precise I suggested that “content will be replaced with a cloud of shared insights (the knowledge base) backed up with concrete evidence (content). As the breath of knowledge increases and the trust network grows there will be increasingly less need to go back to the evidence. Knowledge will be the cloud sitting on evidence integrated seamlessly into applications”

Your Social Business Co-Pilot: An Agile, Emergent, and Decentralized Strategy

Earlier this month a great piece by Dan Schawbel appeared in Forbes on the topic of the ever-expanding discussion on how the business world is transitioning to social media. Not only is it clear that the consumer world is moving en masse to social channels, but it’s now established that most businesses are now beginning the same the process as well.

In the Forbes piece, Dan interviewed IBM's Sandy Carter about her front-line experiences as the software giant’s customers increasingly move to social media across their lines of business. I’ve watched Sandy closely in the last year and I think she’s been successfully zeroing in on the essence of social business strategy. Her new Get Bold book is rapidly becoming required reading in the industry.

In particular, Sandy’s citation that social business will be a $100 billion industry by 2015 is a head turner for those not yet tracking this major change in the business landscape today.

But it’s the frame-up that’s so important for effective strategy to overcome entrenched culture. Though I’ve explored social business transformation closely over the last few years, it was Dan and Sandy’s combined description of how to become a social business that particularly struck me as one of the most cogent explanations of the process and benefits I’ve seen recently:

A Social Business isn’t a company that just has a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Social Business means that every department, from HR to marketing to product development to customer service to sales, uses social media the way it uses any other tool and channel to do its job. It’s an organization that uses social networking tools fluently to communicate with people inside and outside the company. It’s a strategic approach to shaping a business culture, highly dependent upon executive leadership and corporate strategy, including business process design, risk management, leadership development, financial controls and use of business analytics. Becoming a Social Business can help an organization deepen customer relationships, generate new ideas faster, identify expertise and enable a more effective workforce.

Priorities are also the challenge here. Many of the organizations I’m talking to these days are struggling to face the disruptive changes in technology and business coming at them seemingly at light speed. While social media is an increasingly urgent influence, the so-called “Big 5” IT disruptors these days are frequently pulling focus and resources away from concerted efforts just as its needed most to move organizations into the present. It’s this situation that often causes “strategy seizure”, never mind that the credibility of big bang approaches to business and technology change remains at an all time low, excepting paths that are obviously clear of unknown obstacles (i.e. smart mobiilty is one of the few that seems to fall into this camp.)

Read More:

3 reasons HR should be crazy about Social!

I am passionate about something.  I have high expectations.  Unmet expectations can drive people crazy. So before I go crazy hear me out! I believe the HR community should go crazy about social media.  Not just about Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter. Something even more exciting - internal social media. This should be the most exciting innovation that HR has seen at least since author Dave Ulrich suggested HR could leave the Personnel bunker and take their seat at the executive board room table.

HR.  Social. Let me clarify something. This is not the same as saying HR people should be the “social” like social butterflies or social club convenors any more than if you are a people person you should go into HR. No fluffy duck HR.

It is quite simple.  HR should be about achieving business results through people.  Just like the engineer in charge of a capital asset is constantly looking for better ways to get return on the capital employed, a HR practitioner should be similarly obsessed with how people can get their work done.

So enter the internal social network. There are at least three things HR should excite HR people about Social HR:

1. The Focus is on People

HR has been through phases from personnel to process to posters (or what we call EVP’s). Social HR has a definite focus.  People.  Sure some of the risk averse HR body buriers who don’t actually like people, think any internal social network will be taken over by skallywags and recalcitrants. Possibly this is because they deal with the 5% of the workforce who are knobs, dimwits and tricksters.  Feel free to insert your own word.  

Social HR steals back the agenda and hands to to the employees who are creative, enthusiastic and innovative.  The focus of a great company should be the PEOPLE who can inspire others, solve problems and achieve great things.  If you want to increase the performance of your organisation this is a tremendous opportunity. Shift your focus back to your best asset. Motivated and committed people. Focus on these people.

2. The Pace is at Internet speed

In my opinion the best work HR has done for business has been around people engagement. Discretionary effort is real. Capture this capacity and the people factory can increase productivity and improve quality by 20-40%.  

If you give HR this challenge do not expect much of a result for a couple of years.  Serious.  The baseline survey.  The action groups and initiatives.  The follow up survey. So slow.  Painstaking. Not good enough.

In Social HR you start “doing” immediately.  In most cases we know the answers to engagement. Communicate.  Recognize. Capture ideas and act on them.  Give purpose and direction to work.  Social HR is about daily action.  So it is fast and gives tools that master tradespeople can use quickly to impact employee engagement.

So get on with it.  If the survey said communicate more then communicate.  If you need to align vision and values do not just make posters.  Align your people.  Social HR does this. Easily. Quickly. Naturally.

3.  The Power of a Network 

Many HR initiatives are brilliant. One on one coaches and mentors can create wonderful leaders.  Performance systems can guide.  Leadership workshops inspire.

These systems are limited.  These systems are difficult to scale.  Now harness the content of these approaches with the power of an active internal social network and zippo! Your initiatives can go viral. Values that once were whiteboarded in a room of the select can spread across your company. Behaviors that increase performance can be replicated. You can breed high performance activities with Social HR.

Internal social networks are culture change accelerators. Messages do not have to be cascaded. So 1990’s. PowerPoint pitches. Like a old fashioned memo.  

So let’s all get crazy for improved business results. Led by HR. Using the power of social.

If this excites you, share the message and let me know how you are going!

[EN] Three trends that change business: Mobile, Social and Cloud - Forbes

Good analysis of our current turning point:

The world is changing, and there are three market shifts that are driving this change – mobile social and cloud. These trends change what we connect, how we connect and how we transact. …

… Consumers are now willing to buy their own devices and bring them into the workplace – and this is the year that CIOs embrace this trend. As a result, companies can move from 15% of the employees being mobile to over 80%. So clearly mobile is changing what we connect in terms of devices and in terms of corporate supported assets.

In addition to what we connect, mobile also changes how businesses connected. Not only are devices changing, but the software landscape is changing as well.  It’s the first time in roughly 15 years that anyone has considered using an OS other than MSFT’s as a foundation for software. …

The second trend, social combines with mobile to change how businesses engage with its customers and employees. Social is changing the way firms market and deliver customer service. But social isn’t something that is reserved for consumers. Social software is changing our enterprise collaboration tools and its changing engagement within business apps such as CRM. …

On one hand, mobile-social-cloud empower businesses by allowing employees to access corporate data anywhere and improve communication with better social collaborative tools. On the other, IT is overwhelmed by security, compliance and rapid change.

We are at the beginning of the next twenty years of IT evolution.  These trends will combine to create the biggest technology shift since the Internet.  Successful companies will use these technologies to transform the business. …

Is “Social” further exacerbating information overload?

As we make our businesses “more social”, increasing the amount of social data we accumulate and expanding on the insights we are hoping to derive from said data, Are we at risk of compounding our current information overload challenges? Many clients are struggling to effectively leverage the data they have (particularly unstructured) and are anxious about adding new data into the mix. This is a valid concern. Now clearly there are many areas where social does in fact improve some of the overload issues, such as …

Week in Review: Digital Revolution + Microsoft's Cloud Search

Week in Review: Digital Revolution + Microsoft’s Cloud Search

Follow Your Customers Lead
In today’s world of instant communication and gratification, marketers are no longer solely responsible for the creation and distribution of campaigns. They are increasingly responsible for the entire customer experience. Read more.
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CMSWire Opens Registration for its DX Summit

Facebook Leads in Social…

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Dumb by Choice - Foreword to 'Collaborating in a Social Era' by Oscar Berg

The following is my foreword to Oscar Berg’s ’ Collaborating in A Social Era’. The piece was inspired by the themes of the book, particularly on how organisations need to better use information. It was an honour to be able to contribute a few words to Oscar’s great work.

Dumb by Choice

Traditional hierarchical organizations are designed to make us dumb. These organizations work to deliver the predictable execution of a stable, proven business model. We have designed these organizations to exclude information from decision-making and isolate employees to focus on efficiency, predictability, and control. Without better ways of distributing and filtering information, we chose to create the many layers of management, channels of communication, and decision making processes. Each of these familiar elements of organizations limit the information we use and the way we work. The consequence was an improvement in efficiency, but limited adaptability to exceptions, challenges, and change. Our employees and our customers feel the costs of these limits. We have created organizations that treat people, whether customers or employees, as a cog in the machine of value-creation.

In the last century, with the opportunities presented by expanding global consumer markets, our dumbness, loss of human potential, and inflexibility were small prices to pay. There were real financial barriers to better use of information. The lost opportunities were overwhelmed by the ever-growing market opportunity. Most organizations used the same operating model and faced the same economics of information, so the threat of disruptive competition was muted.

As Oscar Berg highlights in this book, the competitive marketplace for organizations has now fundamentally changed. Information networks and digital capabilities have reduced the cost of creating and sharing information and expanded the access to information of businesses, consumers, and communities. Increasingly, organizations are dealing with knowledge work and complex situations. The cost of a dumb process and the missed human potential is rising. Organizations can see competitors better leveraging the potential of their people to learn, to adapt, and to collaborate.

The challenge for managers and for employees in this new world, is how to change our ways of working and how we create, share and make use of information. We need our organizations to make us smarter. We need our organizations to help us to learn and to realize our collective potential. This book sets out to equip us all with some key tools to begin this redesign of the way we work.

Getting Smarter

Work has always involved people coming together to achieve more than one individual can do on their own. The most effective organizations enhance the knowledge, capabilities, and potential of their employees. Changing our ways of working to better use information and foster new forms of collaboration is a critical design element to the future of work. Rather than being passive participants in a process, employees can become a crucial element in the way our organization gathers, shares, and creates value from information.

In this book, you will find a number of key concepts and tools that will help your organization to realize the opportunities and the value offered by new models of social collaboration. Change is not easy. New capabilities will need to be learned and practiced. New mindsets will be required to foster effective communication. Ultimately, teams will need to mature their practice to work in increasingly valuable and visible ways. This book highlights these concepts, provides examples of the new approaches, and supports each of us to put them into practical use.

If we want to work in smarter ways and to see our organizations prosper, leadership is required. These changes to established ways of working won’t happen on their own. We can’t rely on technology to change established practice in our work communities. We will need change agents and leaders to take on the role of building new capabilities, advocating for new mindsets, and role modeling new practice. Adaptive leaders, collaborating in and beyond their organizations, will change established practice and help organizations experiment with the potential of new ways of working.

Take up the challenge of this book and experiment with new ways of collaborating in your organization. You have the opportunity to be well equipped to begin leading the change and making your organization smarter and more effective. Most of all, you will be contributing to making the future of work that much smarter and more human.

To order the book in a variety of formats see Oscar’s launch announcement today

Do Taleo Get Social?

As an idealistic young man a preacher repeated something in a meeting I have never forgotten. He said:

“It is not what you are but what you will be.

The pimply faced adolescents loved the message.  There was a great future ahead and it was exciting beyond the tribulations of teenage angst.

This is a message I would like to give to HR technology vendors.  When looking at competitors consider “it is not what they are but what they will be!”

This week HR analyst Josh Bersin released some interesting research after a one year study of talent management systems summarizing that Talent Management suites are not compelling applications. 

I agree and would contend the reason is not just the user interface and customer experience that Bersin talks about but more fundamental.

Most talent management suites are based on a model that digitized and incrementally improved existing HR processes.  These processes were previously paper based and never really worked and never really will.  They are based on a mangement model.  Not a leadership model. They even call it that: Human Capital Management/Talent Management. Clearly they help organisations but as Bersin said they are not compelling. Users comply with the system but they are not part of day to day work. Importantly as time goes I believe they will be less compelling. 

The Bersin report goes onto say.  This research shows that talent management software does not directly create or drive improvements in business performance.  What does drive performance (revenue per employee, retention, productivity) are the practices themselves. Career development, accountability, goal transparency, feedback, coaching, development planning and leadership development are listed as practices that do impact on performance.

Just before Christmas I read a blog from leading HRC vendor Taleo.  They reviewed the Salesforce acquisition of Rypple by Salesforce.  Read it here:

It was awesome.  In Australia we call it “having a crack”.  Basically the experienced product developer from Taleo said Rypple was not even half a talent management Suite but curiously also lumped social into the tirade.   “Social smocial” was the gist of it. The key point is the Taleo system is integrated.

Incredible!  Is it possible that Taleo  do not get social?  To me it is the lifeblood and backbone of our future HR industry. Remember “it is not what you are but what you will be!”. Can Taleo reasonably be around in 5 years time without a HR social backbone?  Taleo went onto say that HR social did not exist as an entity.  Bersin says 6% of talent management customers use the talent management social products so yes that makes sense for a current vendor to say that. If you believe in social though the market is wide open.

The value proposition is simple.  Social HR (by that I mean Talent and HR apps delivered in an internal social network) will deliver the practices talked about by Bersin better than traditional tech. Not by a little. By a lot.  The evolution of HR tech started from hard copy forms and traditional command and control cascading of processes.  

Social HR can finally deliver simple, scalable tools that allow these critical HR practices to flourish by the users.  The people.  Not HR. A compelling suite.

So where are these killer apps that Taleo should be worried about?  Clearly Rypple has not rocked the pond according to Taleo but has recently released social goals and has social recognition and feedback in place. Interestingly Rypple also needed a Chatter or Jive to grow but now has the framework/backbone to grow an integrated suite.

The answer to where are the killer apps?  On the way. By a multitude of vendors including start ups. The growth of mobile and tablet infrastructure will help especially to workers who have not been easy customers for HR tech vendors to satisfy. There are cool start ups each with components and a wealth of consumer apps that would revolutionize the enterprise market. This revolution will happen.

So if you were an ambitious enterprise player (look at IBM) or even a cheeky start up tech vendor like Yackstar - would you try and patch together a social add on to traditional talent management or just start with social at the centre?

Salesforce are betting on starting with a social centre.   The current tech approach is slow to deploy ( takes up to 2 years) yet a lot of the content does not have much longevity. A compliance module or a performance review or succession plan is yesterday’s fish wrapping to be honest.  You can replace the traditional systems quickly if you have an alternative that is compelling.

So social smocial?  Are Taleo right? Will organisations continue to stick with the status quo?  Will the e20 social transform organisations or does aligning HR tech products with the current state of organisational hierarchy make more sense?  What do you think?

In my next blog I will continue with the 4 reasons HR Social is transformational.  

Remember it is not what you are but what you will be.

[EN] Your desktop of the future is likely to be a whole room — But don't forget voice ...

We might be using one or two screens today in a desktop environment, but in the near future, every available screen in a room could extend our workplace beyond the constraints of an old user interface.


I do not completely agree. We shouldn’t forget the power and potential of voice. We have seen an evolution of how to operate your IT system:

- The Keyboard
- The Mouse
- The Touch …
- The Voice …

Siri is a first evolution and we will see much more in the future … in private and professional usage of IT systems.
Social Analytics is more than just Social...

When I talk with folks about social analytics I tend to start with the reasons why social analytics is not the same as analytics on social media and then rapidly move onto the reasons why social analytics needs to be considered as more than just social, or at least social as it narrowly applies to social applications. Companies have always been social and the only difference is that we now have software that supports and simplifies the process of communicating and collaborating, and explicitly codifies the information and connections derived from those interactions. Information that is currently under-utilized in my opinion, but we will come to that later.