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 much new in the context of management or social change. The point I want to make here is how with the conscious use of these tools, we can make a difference and add 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 the platform for staging the biggest consciousness and social change the humanity has seen.
Let me illustrate this further with a simple example.
A certain “influential” person has 1 million followers on twitter. 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. Malcolm Gladwell, the author of the book The Tipping Point calls people like this connectors.
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.
However, it is self centered expression and has no meaning or call for action for the whole – the wider system.
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 something like:
“What is the purpose of the young people in our society? How do we support them?”
“How could you minimise your CO2 imprint? What will you do today?” etc.
I believe you can see and feel the difference between the first example and the second.
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 you to have a CEO position or PhD in governance.
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 meaningful, they touch people and add value to the dialogue/conversations we have.
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 a question that has value and meaning for a person and/or for a particular system, and we feel passionate about it.
Ask yourself: What question has value and meaning for me(you) right now?
If the system is our town, a meaningful question could be “How could we design our town to meet the economic and environmental challenges in front of us?”.
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. A single key question posted by these people could often spark viral discussion, touch millions and make them think, aware and responsible by simply dwelling on that “meaningful key question”.
We need to post meaningful questions that spark equally meaningful dialogues.
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, that hold in continuity, 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.
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.
RELATED & RECOMMENDED READING
The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell, Abacus 2001
Riding the creative rollercoaster, Nick Udal, Kogan Page 2014
Humble Inquiry, Edgar H Schein, Paperback 2013
Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together- A Pioneering Approach to Communicating in Business and in Life, William Isaacs, Doubleday 1999