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We've been working on new research at The Community Roundtable called The Social Executive, trying to get a better understanding of the range of executive perspectives, how they think about social technologies and how they engage personally. We launched this research initiative to help community and social business leaders better articulate the executive journey and identify what resources and experiences would best help executives progress at each stage.

 

Over the last three months I have had the pleasure of interviewing an incredibly diverse range of executives – heads of learning, HR, IT, marketing, as well as CEOs – and heard first hand about the opportunities and challenges they see for their business and how social approaches are contributing (or not) to that challenge.

One of the first areas we explored with executives was how they connected the use of social technologies in their organizations to business needs and opportunities. What we found were three primary drivers for adoption:

  1. The Need to Innovate
  2. Solving an Execution Challenge
  3. Fear of Falling Behind

We then asked about their personal journey, they ranged from very little use of social technologies to individuals who developed their usage as the technologies emerged. Here are three insights I found particularly interesting:

  • Some of the executives leading the most successful online communities had little interest in participating on public social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
  • There was virtually no shared sources of expertise on the social technology or social business trend. Learning about how to use these technologies and what they could do for organizations was extremely sporadic.
  • Innovation was happening in the most surprising places. Yes, there were some more expected places where innovation was found (see the UBM case study below), but some of the most interesting innovation was happening in places I had never been exposed to – in the government, manufacturing and agriculture sectors.

I'm really pleased to announce the first report in this research series, a case study of UBM's social business journey, with significant contribution from Ted Hopton - and I thought because UBM is a Jive customer, those of you here would be interested in this as well.

 

 


Additionally, we are about to embark on the 2013 State of Community Management research where we will be collecting data about community programs, community dynamics, community management and community performance. We are soliciting participation and you can find more info here: 2013 State of Community Management: Proving the Value of Community

So I have been working on Jive for over a year now and I have tons of fun little factoids to share with any interested person on what little tweaks could go a long way in improving the usability and actual business process that the user is trying to solve. Now I am sure you are thinking we all have great ideas but Jive doesn't have the capacity to listen to us all, and I am sure that this is correct but, I also argue that user feedback is the quickest way to improve your product which is designed ultimately with them in mind and eventually for them. So the two pieces that I want to address and please feel free to add yours in the comments! are:

 

Make the overview bar links customizable... (changeable)

 

overview-bar.jpg

 

Options people could include instead for example: (more specifics)
  • Weekly Discussions
  • Newsletters
  • Featured Photos
  • Videos

 

A nice add on to this would be the multiple homepage version where the different top level links would take you to new wigetized homepages so you could really dazzle the end user and partition the various engagements you are trying to include them in (ideation/discussion/blog etc..).

 

Create bookmarks at the group level

 

Our old collaboration platforms most used group feature was bookmarks. People love to send links around of interesting material (usually by email). Huge quick win!

 

I know that you must get a million feature requests a day but all I ask is that you consider and maybe even respond with the fact your already doing it!

 

Thoughts? PS I got an error when trying to post.... please don't give up the fight on getting rid of the bugs!!!

There's more to leadership than meets the idea. Traditional leadership is hugely important, no question about that. But we all (yes, every employee) can play a leadership role for the benefit of ourselves and of our company. Here's how ...

 

MP900387733.jpgTraditionally, leadership in organizations is looked at the following way: A leader is someone who's in charge of a group of people. This leader is therefore logically placed hierarchically higher, as he/she holds greater responsibilities and decision powers. Let's call this "Leadership 1.0".

 

Today's Web 2.0 has brought dramatic changes, far more action and interaction, far more connectivity, far more "social". At Swiss Re, our Jive platform is called "Ourspace", a thriving collaboration platform that connects the knowledge and the people, allows us to collaborate in a great many ways ... and this is where "Leadership 2.0" comes in. Across the web there are countless examples of experts on any given subject. And most of them are not traditional leaders, they've not been hired for that role, they've not been appointed to that position. There's no hierarchy that puts them in charge of anyone ... and yet they are influencing thousands upon thousands. These are people who are passionate about a certain topic and have consistently focused on it in their blogs, on their websites. Web 2.0 has allowed others to find those experts and their insights. And they sign up for newsletters, they get feed widgets, they follow, they like, they associate. Today the power, the level of influence of these experts, is obvious. They're invited to speak at conferences, they're referenced in news articles, they're sought after by companies, they're targeted by marketers and publishers.

 

So is Leadership 2.0 better than Leadership 1.0? No! But it's clearly different and traditional leadership - and companies as a whole - can greatly benefit if they start employing some of the 2.0 ways. We have leaders who employ blogs and groups to share more and engage more. Not because they have to, but because they want to. Employees join the groups and read the blogs not because they have to but again, because they want to. And because the leaders take the time to share, employees care more and are clearly more motivated. Some might argue that traditional leaders will get more readers, followers, etc. simply because of their position. True to some degree only. I see leaders who are doing this right - they're sphere of influence grows beyond their role. And I see others who don't engage - the differences couldn't be more stark.

 

But this goes far beyond traditional leadership. Every employee can lead. I'm a community manager, my daily goal is to motivate and empower. I tell employees: "You have an expertise. You're passionate about it, right? Then you may want to think about creating a blog and/or a group and begin to openly share your passion, your insights, your know-how. Don't think of it as "leading" - simply share what you know, what you see and experience every day, share what you learn and what you teach ... and over time "Leadership 2.0" will happen. Over time people will read your insights and follow you. Over time, your network grows and so will your sphere of influence. Over time, simply by sharing what you're good at and what you're passionate about, you will be a leader."

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