How Smart CEOs Employ Social Media and Collaboration Tools

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2020 Social Media Approachby Angela Guess

Robert J. Thomas and Yaarit Silverstone recently wrote in the Harvard Business Review, “Advances in digital technology and their use in organizations carry huge promise to empower people at all levels. Social media and collaboration tools not only open the door to faster and more extensive knowledge-sharing, but they also enable conversations that skip levels, silo-busting, and self-organization. Big data and analytics can make organizations more efficient and agile by empowering middle-level and far-flung managers to make decisions and seize business opportunities that previously required scarce data and executive approval. But without an organization-wide understanding of what’s good for the business and what’s not, these powerful tools can be dangerous… Savvy CEOs use fire to fight fire, effectively employing digital media inside their organizations to create the kind of alignment and shared purpose they need. In our research, we find that smart leaders do these three things.”

First, smart CEOs “Tune into global conversations: It may seem odd to refer to the daily torrent of emails, tweets and posts as conversations, but in reality they are. Collaboration software and mobile apps make it possible for these conversations to connect practically everyone in the organization — and to distribute information and authority much more widely than ever before. Rather than be paralyzed by fear about who has access to what, savvy leaders recognize that information can empower employees to move the business closer to customers, that decision-making can be accelerated when vital data is not held hostage (or lost) and that visible conversations can prevent wasted effort and even spark innovation. For example, Microsoft IT leaders take their organization’s pulse using analytical software that monitors trending topics in their Yammer collaboration space. This allows CEO Satya Nadella to hear early warning signals.”

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