Daniel Martin Eckhart from Swiss Re provided a lot of great ideas for getting your executives engaged in your Jive communities. Before Daniel got into the helpful tips, he explained his philosophy of life. He doesn't have work/life balance, he has a life. And that is how he approaches his executives. He explains that we need to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable being their authentic selves, so that they are bringing 100% of their person to the job, instead of just the 30% that might fit into their actual job description. Senior leaders are just people, too, and they may need to be reminded that they don't know everything and that they have a unique background and history. Daniel also reminds leaders that there are two sides to every brain and we need to encourage the right-brained creative types by doing something for them so that they can create.
One of the great successes at Swiss Re include creating "offices" in a group. Instead of having an open-door policy that only 5% of your on-premise team can make use of, create a group and make that the office where questions can be posted. The exec can control the flow of the conversation and can reach 100% of their employees. Daniel stresses that "we're all unique – show your leaders that they can be themselves and then show them how." The following are some great points of attack for you to try in your Jive community.
- Make leaders exist in the physical and virtual worlds. It is no longer good enough to be present solely in the physical world. If you don't have a profile picture in the Jive community, then it is like you don't exist.
- You can always take make or give time. If your execs are telling you that they don't have time, it is because they haven't made this a priority. Find a way to convince them of the value so that they will make time to engage.
- "I can't write." Whenever Daniel hears this he responds, "How many emails have you written today?" It isn't about literature, it is about showing up.
- Authenticity is a must. You can make adjustments for the exec's comfort levels (e.g., I won't discuss my kids, I can only blog once a month, etc.), but you cannot compromise on their authentic voice in however they decide to engage.
- Perfection errors. Perfection is the death of authenticity. Leaving in a typo or two proves that the exec wrote it, and that they are only human.
- Use metrics to promote a healthy sense of competition. Daniel is not a fan of analytics (the only thing I disagreed with!), but he does like to pull engagement numbers every few months and send them off in a spreadsheet to the exec. He usually then receives a couple of responses asking how they can get their numbers up (reading between the lines: to beat the other exes).
- And last, but certainly not least: Always do whatever is in the best interest of the company. At the end of the day, everyone has the same goal and that is the furthered success of the company, do whatever makes that happen.
As Kathryn Everest cautioned when she introduced Daniel, there is no magic bullet to getting your execs involved in your community, but there are a lot of good approaches you can try. And I plan to as soon as I get home!