“Be open, be transparent, be authentic,” are the current leadership mantras but companies often push back. Traditionally, business is premised on the concept of control and yet the new world order demands openness. Leaders need to know how to tap into the power of the social technology revolution and use social media to be “open” while maintaining control. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Yammer, Jive and other popular social media sites can improve efficiency, communication and decision making for leaders and their organizations. Openness requires more not less rigor and effort than being in control. By embracing social media, leaders can transform their organizations to become more effective, decisive and ultimately more profitable in this new era of openness in the marketplace.
As your customers and employees become more adept at using social and other emerging technologies, they will push you to be more open, urging you to let go in ways in which you may not be comfortable. Your natural inclination may be to fight this trend, to see it as a fad that you hope will fade and simply go away. It won’t. Not only is this trend inevitable, but it also is going to force you and your organization to be more open than you are today. In the past, organizational leaders had the luxury of remaining ensconced in their executive suites, opening up only when they felt the need to. Today there is information leakage everywhere, with company miscues and missteps spreading all over the Internet in seconds. And all involved — from employees and customers to business partners — feel entitled to give their opinions and get upset when their ideas are not implemented.
The fundamental rules that have governed how relationships work are being rewritten, because of easy, no-cost information sharing. The challenge, therefore, is to redefine how those relationships will operate. Organizations and their leaders need to lay out the commitments they expect from these new relationships. The advantage of pursuing an open strategy is that you will do it in the company of people who wish you the best, who will be there to support you and will count themselves among the many who will benefit from your success.