Social Media vs. Anti-Social CEO

Image Credit: Kevin Mandeville

It’s difficult enough for CEOs to manage their companies and inspire their staff. Now they must add another role to that list – Chief Technology Adopter. For without the permission, leadership and example of a CEO, companies have almost no chance of building the online communities that will increasingly drive their profits in the future.

Many CEOs are quite frankly scared of new technology (or rather what it might mean for their jobs). Others are so deeply invested in mindsets and behaviors of the past that anticipating the future is impossible. Either way, such CEOs become a perpetual retardant on future prospects of their companies.

CEOs like Phil Knight, Indra Nooyi, Richard Branson and Tony Hsieh do the opposite, managing the day-today needs of his or her company by relying on those past learnings while also ensuring its future success by taking the risk of shaping the future.

Specifically, such CEOs perform several roles that are critical if a company is to expand on the strength of new digital and social media technologies. They include:

(1) Reinforcing to their Board and employees that technology will shape their future.

(2) Insisting that their company clearly define their purpose and core values so that they are consistently communicated consistently on and offline no matter how technology changes.

(3) Generating a community within the company itself using social media built around this clear understanding of who they are, what they do and why they do it.

(4) Communicating to the Board and employees that they are now in the community building business.

(5) Educating the company in the fundamental shift from a broadcast mentality to one of listening.

In short, a CEO must enable transformation at the Board level, within the company, throughout its marketing and across all social media so it can keep pace with technology and profit from in a changing marketplace. If the leadership of more progressive companies is any guide, those companies that will survive and thrive in the future will be defined by the bravery of their CEO.

What else must a CEO do? Who else do you think is doing a great job?