Sunday, November 17, 2013

Virginia Rometty (IBM) & Andre Cox (Salvation Army) announce their engagement .... with the people they serve.

If there was one thing that excited me about social business and social media in general, it would be the potential that it provides for the human race to work together towards the common good. During public speaking engagements, I love to talk about crowd-sourcing. Not just because people start to tweet excitingly, but because I know that great things are achievable when we listen to the voice of the crowds.

It would seem that recently appointed leaders are using social media as a key way to connect with customers, employees, business partners, and a number of other people. When I was at IBM, Virginia Rometty was appointed to the role of CEO. One of the first things that she did, was to create a social community as a central hub we're all employees could engage with her. She's sent out a video to all 440,000+ employees to introduce herself and to share her vision.

Recently, a new top man, Andre Cox, was appointed to the role of General, the international leader of the Salvation Army. Within just a few weeks, he posted a request to the young people of the Salvation Army throughout the world, to make a video in which they would address five questions which were asked by the General. For the first time in recent history people far down the militaristic structure of this organisation, were are invited to engage with the highest levels of the organisation.

The general, stated that the responses would be used in conjunction with some of his top advisors. Just like IBM, the Salvation Army has been in existence for over 100 years. Both organisations are large. As we know, these sorts of organisations have many processes and can sometimes be very difficult to deal with. I've worked for both. I know that both of them have traditions, politics and bureaucracy which sometimes works as a strength and at other times, a hinderance. 

One of the key struggles of such organisations lies and the ability to remain relevant to the people they serve and the people they employ. Both leaders have used social media to reach out to those very people. Both Virginia and Andre will use the information which has been provided by their social audience to bring about transformational change where than their respective organisations. By analysing candid responses they will pick up on trends which are relevant for this moment in which we live.

Take some time to consider how your organisation engages with groups of people to gain insights about how you could provide better products and services. I despair at the thought that most organisations are still in the infancy of using social media is a modern day spam machine. Why not make a video and paste onto YouTube to ask your customers for real honest, transparent, feedback? 

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