Mittwoch, 25. Mai 2011

Social Space

When Mgmt lives on another planet – then Social Space becomes a very vital mission.

stockxchng, Galaxy by gilderm

Of course face-to-face discussions would be the preferred, always, however most often we need to use the crutches of Social Media. So the discussion is not about whether Social Media can substitute and replace face-to-face discussions, but support, when these are not feasible.
Recently I had analyzed a mgmt blog – the results where not good:

  • Would you fail to appear in an All-Employee-Meeting?
    2 posts in the last 3 weeks is not a blog (professionalism)
  • Would you simply ignore a question in an All-Employee-Meeting?
    5 comments – none answered by the blogger (respect)
  • Would you plan an All-Employee-Meeting for 5 minutes?
    A blog needs greater staying power then 1 month (perseverance)
 Let’s look at the characteristics of Social Media to see what went wrong:
There are 3 main characteristics I can identify: around time, the format, and around style.
If we look at the characteristics around time, we immediately can spot improvement areas for our above mentioned management engagement: Social Media activities must be often and they must be timely, the fear that the time efforts then rise so tremendously that management only will be social (would that be bad?), are compensated by not – so – time-consuming efforts. In SM a contribution should be thought trough, but it doesn’t have to be a PhD thesis. It is a competitive advantage of SM to publish unpolished work-in-progress. It is rather a matter of chopping things into tiny bits and pieces. It is the speed of light (instead of heavy information overloaded dreadnoughts).
That is also supported, if we look at the format, as SM formats are short (as a rule of thump you might want to think of what is the default resolution on one screen). And more important it is two-ways. Two-ways! TWO-WAYS!!! So ignoring a question is a sin that a community does not forgive lightheaded. Two-ways means that you address others, ask for opinion, start with questions – and that you are not afraid of getting honest answer and open feedback. It is about dealing with diversity of opinions, not about neglecting them. This is not always fun, but there is no alternative; ignoring silence is not a good strategy to defuse social time bombs. But the same applies for you, connect by being responsive. This is how you can engage – and convince.
The style. Direct, short, fresh and human. Human 1 – personal: Those, who do not trust, cannot be trusted (I admit, it is not from me, but I have seen it by Brian Driggs as comments at Luis Suarez “The evolution of the knowledge Net worker”. Human 2 – situational. We all die, so eternal truths are not really ours. Human 3 – authentic. Have you ever tried to shake hand with the Teflon man?
Finally two warnings:
  • "Authentic" does mean, you cannot outsource this to other experts (e.g. on Communications, making antiseptic statements); the only expert on yourself is you (and you wife, but that is another ton of blog posts)
  • "Authentic" does not mean “mindless”, just because it is social, it doesn’t mean that sh… hits the fan, when you throw with it.
So understanding and deploying these characteristics, it will enhance visibility (see time), open leadership communication with dialogue and arguments, (the format of true thus two-ways communication), certainly accountability goes with this characteristic, it adds also to transparency and trust (as style does).
Any last famous words – have a look at Twitter.



  1. Some good thoughts as always Gerald!

    Let me share an example from a previous employeer (A large company, but privatly held)! During my first day in office 5 hrs was spent on telling the life-story of the founder (and main owner). As a new employee I got to now about situations that had impacted his thoughts and standpoints, but I did also learn a lot about why he made certain decisions. In my coming year with the company these stories and reflections supported my day-to-day decision making tremendously.

    So what's the connection to a mgmt blog? Well, I don't want the mgmt blog to broadcast what I already know (read: news items). What I want is the thoughts and reasoning behind certain decisions - and to fully gain that understanding dialogue is crucial!

    So at the end of the day I guess that mgmt blogs should be seen as long-term investments in an active dialogue with employees (and unfortunately - they will for the same reason fight against short-term firefighting in prioritization..). And the more transparent you can be in your reasoning and rationals behind decisions/success/failures the more aligned your company will be, which over time will facilitate agile change management and reduce the need for firefighting ( least we can hope for.. :)


  2. @Andreas
    Couldn't have said it better! A mgmt blog or mgmt microblogging is the extension of your 1st day discussions.
    And what you mentioned about the news items, is what was meant with the warning, if you corrupt Social Media into pushing news items, you are corrupting the whole idea. Social Media (and especially with regards to mgmt) is for me more about the context side, not the information. In order to understand this difference, I recommend my favourite "blog":



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