In the “ask me anything” era of communication, CEOs can often attempt to appear “open and transparent and approachable” yet it can appear the opposite.
The assumption that there is nothing that the CEO can’t answer can appear egotistical and puts the emphasis on the employees to come up with a good question. Often this becomes the exercise rather than getting closer to or having a conversation with the CEO.
Internal comms: just be normal
In internal comms, these three words are your guiding light.
Just. Be. Normal.
Human. Conversational. Social. Honest.
You wouldn’t sit round at a family party and say “go on, ask me anything. I’ll be able to answer it.” Well you might, but you’d be unlikely to be invited back.
So why, just because it works on Reddit….the king platform of ego…..should it work in an organisation.
Sure, people want to ask the CEO things but really are they going to openly ask it for all to see? And if they do, is it likely to be what they want to ask or what they think sounds clever or tricky?
Internal comms: idea
How about, if the CEO asked the question. Asked for help?
Am sure when the CEO is forking out for that much talent, there must be stuff he/she needs help with.
People love to help. Love to show their skills. Love to be included.
Why not flip it on its head once in a while and show the humility that most leaders need. Might work. Might even learn something.
While Ashton Kutcher, husband of Demi Moore, is the first to have 1m followers on the strength of posting pictures of his wife in his knickers, the chancellor of the exchequer had only 1,800 takers for his plans for the British economy.
Yet his tweets last week were perfect – short, clear and informative. They made me think that if the Budget can be done on Twitter, it must be possible to do all corporate communications the same way, and put e-mail in the dustbin forever. …Not only would messages be quicker to read and easier to understand, most would not get sent at all….To communicate this way – either on Twitter or on Yammer, which is a similar service aimed at companies – would have another advantage. It would make clear who are the really powerful people in a company. Humble employees who happen to have good ideas could easily have more followers than the chief executive.
An interesting post from my client at Alterian – Ian Truscott – on the power of being yourself or as a company, letting employees play their part and make up the social face to the company as a whole.
As I commented on the original post, I think “be nice” is a good mantra for the way we behave online and also for life in general but I like my colleague Ged Carroll‘s additional one “be useful”. Being useful is where all the different “yous” come in – I am assuming you are meaning the “faces” to the company can come from anywhere within the organisation here?
…and they should…..technical people need to be there, customer services, marketing, comms, senior management….
“We know some people from your company. They’re pretty cool online. Do you have any more like that you’re hiding? Can they come out and play?”
As people realise the biggest benefit to being online – listening to your customers and being part of their community – is learning intensely valuable info about where you business should be going and what you should be doing better, this will become a no brainer.
Right now there are a huge number of companies that still don’t get it.