People always talk about how “it’s a small world” and to a large degree it is…and getting smaller as advancing technology, social media and other forces help us connect with others and stay connected. Many organizations are racing to implement technologies and processes to meet this challenge.
Like many others I believe that social signifies something new for us, but I think responding to the new world it has ushered in requires a comprehensive response in order to be successful. Simply establishing organizational Facebook and Twitter accounts and jumping on new social trends as they occur isn’t enough. This is because social isn’t just about websites or banging out 140 characters on your phone. The real change is that the world expects the gap between them and the leadership of the organization to have evaporated overnight.
This brave new world we have entered into expects feedback loops to close faster than ever before and to be understood in the context of all of the information available to that stakeholder as well as to the organization. They expect to be responded to in near real time, to be taken seriously and treated like their opinion matters…and because its so easy to shout in our new world everyone’s opinion does matter (at least for an internet minute).
So what can you do? Understand that you now live in the equivalent of a small town. Many of your stakeholders are nosy neighbors who know more about you than you want and love sharing it- the good and especially the bad. I think modern leaders are facing a real challenge in how far they position their desk from these stakeholders. Those able to carry off having at least the appearance of an open door policy to the rest of the world may profit. No matter how much you embrace the forces that are making us closer connected its important to recognize the expectation and ensure that to the degree possible you are empowering the people in your organization to react to the conversations happening right now all around your organization.
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