Monthly Archives: July 2010

Social Media as a Tool for Managing Change

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Social media… whether you love it or hate it, it is here to stay.  While some of our clients think “tweeting” and blogging is ridiculous, many spend a good portion of their time every week reading and sharing ideas through blogs, discussion groups, and Twitter.  

Social media has proven to be a powerful tool in managing change.  Sharing ideas, engaging people in change efforts, and gathering feedback to help refine change plans are all critical to managing change effectively.  And social media is a great tool for doing all three of those things.  If a group impacted by the change you are driving really likes this social media stuff, then use it to your advantage!

Leaders can interact with staff in ways that were never possible before blogs and message boards.  People can get information precisely when they want and need it.  And groups can share ideas real time.  We have only just begun to see our clients using this stuff, but it is definitely on the rise. 

I remember 10 years ago we used a tool with a client called a “graffiti wall”.  It was a place where people could go write down whatever they thought about a question or comment posted at the top of the wall.  You’d be amazed at how many comments would go up in the course of a day in an old manufacturing environment!  Those folks had opinions they wanted to share!  Well, many of these tools is just a jazzed up version of the same!

Face to face interactions still form the basis of a working relationship, but new social media can be a powerful addition.

Follow the Leader

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There are more than a few leaders who expect different things of themselves than they do of those who follow them.  To some extent, that makes sense – leaders are different…  they may have more responsibilities competing for thier time, they are often over-booked and short on time, they have a level of experience that many don’t have.  But, on the other hand, it can be problematic.  In the end, leaders are part of the organization and what they do is seen by others as important, while what they don’t do somehow seems less important.

We have seen it often with eduction in organizations.   Executives often aren’t exposed to the training that people get one level below them, creating a knowledge gap.  Managers are told that certain training sessions are mandatory.  But leaders often say  “we already know how to do XYZ… we don’t need training on it.” Unfortunately, they don’t know what they don’t know. 

That knowledge gap can lead to the demise of the learning that was intended.  Without exposure to the same learning, sometimes leaders don’t ask the right questions to reinforce the learning, or they do things to undermine things that were taught – all unknowingly.  And, without the interest and attention from leaders, many times the managers assume this must not be so important.

Leaders set the pace and the tone of an organization.  Follow the leader was a game we all played in grade school… and to some extent, we still play it at work.  If you are the boss, think about what you are doing and how those following will see it.