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Developing The Social Executive

One of the hardest things that community leaders do is to help executives within their organization understand the value of communities and how to effectively participate themselves. It’s not that executives can’t learn but they are faced with unique challenges:

  • Booked Solid: Executives have very little time for unstructured conversation and with it, innovation
  • Bottlenecks: Executives are assaulted with requests and issues and find it challenging to be proactive and focused on important (vs urgent) items
  • Handled: Executives have a lot of handlers – both in their own organizations and in others. They receive information that is often filtered with a point of view which is largely helpful but can also create blinders
  • On-the-Go: Executives are in constant motion which can make it hard to find the time to focus on learning a complex new construct.

Many of our members have found creative ways around this in ideas like reverse mentoring, one-on-one coaching, and peer case studies. I would also add that if you ever get the opportunity to travel with an critical executive stakeholder do not pass on the opportunity… it provides some of the best time to have an extended conversation with them in a relatively informal way.

I recently spoke to a room full of senior executives at a Fortune 500 manufacturing company. They were not brand new to the idea of social business and their interest was piqued but many of them still didn’t seem entirely sure of how all of it impacted them directly. I broke down my commentary into the following three areas:

  • Macro conditions that are changing organizational performance priorities
  • The role networks and communities play in that organizational performance
  • How communities can directly help executives in their daily work

Here is the presentation I used:

The Social Executive
View more presentations from The Community Roundtable

I also spoke with Lenny Liebmann during the IBM Connect Conference in January about some of these themes:

What are some of your tips and tricks for helping executives understand and use social methods in their own work? What have you seen work particularly well?



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