Monthly Archives: January 2010

How Social Media Helps Birds of a Feather Flock Together

Savvy leaders are students of both yesterday and today in order to inform a prosperous tomorrow.

This month I found out that turning 40 is a time for reflecting back (as well as being the brunt of a lot jokes about farsightedness, forgetfulness, and gray hair). While it’s a blast remembering the amusement park-type fun of bumping around the “way back” of a station wagon unfettered by seat belts and other safety accoutrement, too much time lamenting about the “way things were” becomes fruitless and counterproductive. For leaders, nostalgia can be both poignant and potentially poisonous.

Dwelling in the past obscures our view of the future. Hindsight with no consideration of foresight ensures that not only will things never again be as they were, they’ll certainly never get better than they are.

Obviously, many aspects of the “good old days” should never have gone by the wayside. New grads should expect to pay their dues and should rightfully be put through the paces. It’s very difficult to fast-track the rich learning that comes from time in the trenches earning your stripes. I’m not sure why the hand-written thank-you note got lost in the shuffle. I will tell you that the folks who invest the few extra minutes and ounces of effort required to use snail mail build more trust and leave a more lasting impression than the person who whips off a perfunctory email.

Just as there are old-school business practices that deserve to be maintained because they work, there are many new school methods that should not be dismissed just because “that’s not how we do things around here.”

Leaders need to objectively evaluate options both old and new to determine which business methods are most appropriate for effectively and efficiently getting results that advance the organization’s mission.

Social Media is one of those “new school” ideas that should not be too quickly dismissed as a fad nor embraced with wild abandon because you don’t want to miss out on all the fun. Leaders have a responsibility to understand what this newer frontier is about and how it can be leveraged to  better serve customers, contribute to the community, benefit the world at large, and advance the organization’s interest. Before diving headlong into Social Media, prudent leaders should wade through real-world cases to carefully assess a fit for their organization. Stories pour forth on the Internet rich with ideas on why and how to adopt Social Media.

Case in Point

Armed with an exhaustive amount of research in social influence reinforced with first hand evidence of how certain influence techniques can be successfully wielded by the well-intentioned, I nervouslyentered the Social Media arena. Though capable of reaching the balcony in an auditorium unaided by a microphone, I wasn’t sure how my one voice could be deciphered over the cacophony on social networking sites. Much to my delight I discovered a choir of diverse voices harmoniously exalting the importance of character-based leadership. What I found was The Lead Change Group.

With Mike Henry Sr. at the helm, The Lead Change Group has pierced the veil of Social Media mystery and emerged as a tour de force in the realm of emergent leadership.

Here is the road map this group followed to be distinguished from the din.

  • The social networking began with a few of people following each other on Twitter and sharing thoughts using #leadchange to categorize their input.
  • Mike provided a communal space for the group on LinkedIn
  • By leveraging the functionality of the http://tweepml.org site,  introductions are continously being made between existing and new members. Through this utility, people can choose to  follow either specific participants or everyone in the Lead Change Group.
  • The group has a website and blog  that serves as a focal point for those interested in leading with character and creating positive results.
  • Expanding exponentially, a natural progression for this intricate tapestry of high integrity leaders is to move the conversation from the keyboard to the conference room. Leader Palooza, a conference on 2/19-2/20, will allow these birds of a feather to flock together in sunny Ft. Lauderdale. It’s an opportunity to deepen the relationships and expand the boundaries of the tenets that began 140 characters at a time.

What started in the new school will be strengthened by some good old fashioned brainstorming, action planning, and face-to-face networking.

The Lead Change Group illustrates a Social Media-born fusion of  cutting edge communication tools with by-gone era best practices. The outcome is a team of individuals proactively seeking and implementing innovations in leadership excellence.

Mixing Backward Glances with Foreward Thinking

The Lead Change Group is just one example of how Social Media can be leveraged to achieve a targeted objective. In this case, the goal was to provide a forum for like minded thinkers.  Starting on the Web and transitioning to a more traditional medium (the conference) expedited the organization’s growth and ensured a valuable diversity of participants.

How can your organization springboard off of tried & true methods and gain momentum from ground-breaking concepts to ultimately achieve maximum velocity?

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