How to maximise the role of the social media as management and transformation tool

By Viktor Kunovski

COACH ERA website


HOW CONSCIOUSLY ARE YOU USING THE POWER OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS?

I like analogies.

Lets take a 8cm long garlic chopping knife (a tool). In my drawer is useless, in the sink is dirty and stinky, in the hands of a soldier!!! and in the hands of maestro chef….mmm.  Well who is buying the wine then?

We all know that the knife on its own does not make the finger licking dish. Our Soc. Media (SM) tools (Facebook, Twitter, linked….) are more or less like the knife.  Without the skilful hand they do not offer us anything new in the context of management or social change and the point I want to bring here is how the conscious use of these tools can make a difference and add a value.

If appropriately used and guided by a skilful conscious chef (I will stop with the analogy here and call my chef a systemic leader) SM tools could and I believe will provide a platform for staging the biggest consciousness and social change the humanity has seen, of which the signs are emerging and are already quite visible.

Let me illustrate this further with a simple example.
A certain twitter influential person has 1 million followers. Someone else has 10 million Facebook fans/friends. I have chosen this numbers randomly but you’ll get my point. Because of the audience his/her twitter/fb – social media activities have massive gravity.

Now this person can tweet something simple, like “I am in GUCCI” London shopping for shoes.
His/her tweet could be replied, twitted again and again. And this is all interesting, funny and beautiful in many ways.

The same person with his audience of millions could consciously choose to turn the attention to a particular important issue, challenge or problem that needs wider action and participation. Something that is important in his community, town, country or for the whole world.
This person could also tweet “How could you minimise your CO2 imprint? What will you do today?”

In the context of organizational management and social change, if we consciously use the SM tools we can design amazing results.  If you are asking yourself how SM could assist us in doing so, I would like to share some examples and my experiences.

Managing change could be assisted by several simple things that don’t require a CEO position or PhD in governance.

A Key Question

Like all strategies, change starts with a question.  What do we want, where do we want to be, how do we want to see things?
Questions invite us to participate and engage. They  are particularly powerful because they make us think. When they are well constructed and with value and meaning in mind, they often touch people. Statements and comments do not have such an impact on us.
Key questions create group dialogues and assist the processes of emergence of collective intelligence.
In this context a Key Question is the question that has value and meaning for a person and/or for a particular system.

Ask yourself: What question has value and meaning for you right now? You’ll often be passionate about a key question.

If the system is our town, a meaningful question could be “How could we design our town to meet the economic and environmental challenges for 2020?”.
If the system is our organization key question could be “How could we create excellence in our work and share it with our clients”?
Perhaps a key question for the president or the prime ministers would be “How do we lead our  nation to its highest potentials and contribute to humanity”.
I am just offering food for your thoughts, please explore and experiment with your own key questions  you want to ask.

Another important thing that can stimulate change is having a

Conscious committed leadership

In my blog named systemic leadership, I argue that each of us could, should and is a leader.
The gap between “could be” and is “a leader” exists in between the space of “I don’t care about this” and “I am taking conscious actions on this”. If you wait for someone else to sort the problems (challenges) in your life, and assume a passive role without participating, than you are still “could be” leader.
The moment you consciously decide to make some kind of change and take a step in this direction you are assuming the role and the position of a leader.
This first step could be as small (or as big) as posting a key question on twitter or fb.

When it comes to senior leaders, because our world still uses the good old fashioned top down leadership, the conscious commitment from these people is still paramount and is very necessary.
There is a massive difference in the performances of those organizations who are guided by conscious committed leaders and those who are not.
There is valuable difference if a CEO asks “what are the values and culture we need for greatness?” than if he does not ask questions like this.
When it comes to the mix of social media, large organizational and culture transformations the power of the CEO, president or prime minister is uttermost because of his followers so to speak. A single key question posted by these people will often spark viral discussion and will touch millions and make them think, aware and responsible by simply dwelling on the question.
Take a look at this numbers from (17 Feb 2013): Richard Branson the CEO of Virgin has 2.9 million twitter followers. Bill Gates has 9.7 million twitter audience, Mayor of London, Boris Johnson holds 629 000. Imagine an alliance of global leaders, to hold in continuity a powerful global key question?

Some astonishing numbers come from the showbiz world. Rihanna has 28.3 million, Lady Gaga 31.14million twitter followers. A single powerful key question from these people could set an avalanche of meaningful transformative energy.
Yet, we do not have to have such a big audience to become a leader and start a positive change.
A small group of like minded street neighbours could be enough.  New parks, playgrounds have been started like this.

Full system participation

The conscious leaders are there to design, remind and hold key questions. They have to do this because of the fact that the current challenges we face on local and global levels can’t be solved if we don’t involve majority of people within a system.  Weather the challenge is the pollution in our village or the global warming.

Conscious use of social media tools, added by conscious leadership that asks key questions could make a big difference. The power of numbers and the speed that these tools offer provides incredible platform for managing and leading organizational and social change programmes.

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Comments

  • Joost Robben  On October 7, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Hi! Thanks for this great post, it is very inspiring. I fully agree with you on the involvement of the whole system that is needed to fully leverage the power of social media. In organizations, there are always people who are front runners, they like to look out for new things and want to share with others. My question is, how do we engage the rest of the workforce?
    btw. i would be very interested in those links.

    All the best, Joost Robben

  • coachera  On October 7, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Hi Joost,

    before sharing my opinion about how we engage the rest of the workforce, let me give the links I mentioned.

    This is the CEO (Dutch man) and the CHR of UNILEVER talking about the process of culture transformation within the company.

    this is the case study of the process

    http://www.valuescentre.com/uploads/2010-09-02/Unilever%20Brazil%20Case%20Study.pdf

    this is my book “Values or Death” that describes the process and you can download here

    http://www.skyisthelimit.org/ValuesorDeath.html

  • viktor  On October 21, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    “The system is always wiser than the leader or the leadership team that leads it”.

    That is why a good leader is asking a lot of powerful questions.

    In this way he involves the people. This is also empowering both for the leader and for his people. This is the way of the systemic leader.

  • Kees van den Meiracker  On November 10, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    Dear Viktor,

    Inspiring story and of cource we all know that a large number of people can change the world. Iam not convinced that “Continuous Measurement of culture and values within the system” can be found by using conventional tools and skills. It is very difficult to find the “real”values and meaning of a culture and beside that a culture can only survive by changing (Roman empire). By using special methods from different scientific fields, like cultural anthropology you can make a zero measurement and with participant observation for example you can really found values. Only this is a proces that takes longer (and costs a lot of money). I would be interested in the links and a lot of success. Yours,

    Kees van den Meiracker
    Power of Culture bv

    • coachera  On November 11, 2010 at 10:22 am

      Dear Kees,

      the tools for measurement of the culture I am referring to, are ultra modern, in my experience they are extremely precise and most importantly they are very cheep.
      http://www.skyisthelimit.org/CTTtools.html
      They are so fast, that we can measure the culture of a organization or nation within one week. Trust me on this since I have done it http://www.skyisthelimit.org/MCAssessment%20-%20May%202009%20USAID%20Official.pdf in South East Europe and many of my colleagues have also done this in some other countries on national level. You can see the national values of several countries here http://www.valuescentre.com/products__services/?sec=national_values_assessment_%28nva%29

      Today more and ore nations will use them since the results they have given in the corporate sector are also fantastic. More than 2000 companies have used the CTT.

      I am not saying that the measurement will change the culture by itself. No that is not possible, still this is essential first start and a diagnostic step before starting any strategy development or change management efforts within a system.

      Viktor
      Tel: +31 (0)639348920

  • Mathew Glowka  On December 8, 2010 at 5:44 am

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  • coachera  On February 27, 2011 at 9:52 am

    I wrote this blog in October last year.

    The events in North Africa have proven how fast the the world is changing.

    They have also shown that systemic leadership is present and is very powerful. There was not a new leader or political party that made the change in Egypt, it was the whole system participating.

    I have also made a mistake in predicting that the world is lacking new leaders.
    They are all over and so many we can only call them systemic leaders.

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