Get Social: A Mandate for New CEOs
Traditionally new CEOs are faced with their greatest challenges as they transition into a position during their first 100 days. In her recent opinion piece for the MIT Sloan Management Review, Weber Shandwick Chief Reputation Strategist Dr. Leslie Gaines-Ross argues that social tools can and should be employed by new CEOs not simply as a marketing tool but as a two-way medium of communication.
Based on interviews with new CEOs in several industries, Gaines-Ross has found that employing social media in this manner allow CEOs to engage on a mass level, quickly and efficiently, while utilizing one-on-one conversation characteristics.
Gaines-Ross cites that CEOs communicate most frequently through email, memos and Q&As. “They walk the halls, attend town hall meetings and issue press releases. They also publish earnings calls, conduct face-to-face meetings and cascade information down through the ranks.” And while she concedes that these practices still remain helpful in establishing a new CEO, Gaines-Ross stresses that in “this wired age,” leadership tools are greatly accentuated when social media is added to the mix.
Gaines-Ross goes on to note that while social media among consumers and in many businesses has become the norm, concerns about committing to social platforms remain entrenched at the top. Often CEOs argue that the return on investment is too “difficult to measure,” or that social media is too “time consuming” and “loose.” Gaines-Ross counters that CEOs who have actually used social media argue these concerns are exaggerated, but not without some merit. “A new CEO needs to watch what he or she says online, just as a CEO has to be careful using any form of communication,” says Gaines-Ross.
Despite these trepidations, she firmly believes that social media is no longer the way of the future, but rather it is already a state-of-the-art leadership tool that surpasses many traditional approaches to listening and communicating with stakeholders.
Read the rest of Dr. Gaines-Ross’s findings here.