Celebrating Community Manager Appreciation Day (#CMAD) at #IBMConnect
Colleen Burns 120000C4RP firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  cmad community_managers community ibmconnect
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Becoming a social business is all the rage. Executives are drinking the Kool-Aid, organizing teams to explore the use of social tools and networks to aid marketing, customer support, product innovation, employee retention and more. And these teams are launching social initiatives at breakneck speed. Community managers are often on the front line of these initiatives, making (or breaking) their success.
Since it’s Community Manager Appreciation Day (#CMAD), it seems appropriate to highlight what makes a community manager, and more importantly, your social business initiative, successful. Here on the ground at IBM Connect (#IBMConnect), I’m seeing and hearing that community management has begun to be recognized as an important piece of the social business puzzle. While technology and tools typically take center stage at events like this, it’s the soft stuff like culture and leadership that is resonating in the presentations I’m attending.
With that in mind, I want to highlight several leadership and cultural traits that help organizations achieve success in social business.
1. Move from controlling to emergent leadership. Organizations (and leaders) that move from controlling and ownership leadership models to ones where leadership is earned will see rapid social business success. Leaders should be encouraged to partner with others to create shared wins and freely share value vs. entrenching to control their information and fiefdom. During the general session today, we learned of the Regeneron 5, five tenants they use to guide their culture. It’s #5 I want to highlight here – “We won’t let bureaucracy block good ideas.” Challenge your leadership to see the value in this statement and you’ll be on your way to a more emergent leadership mindset.
2. Shift your culture from a transaction- to a relationship-based mindset. Many modern organizations have their roots in being a transaction-focused business. While this was ok throughout most of the 20th century, times have changed. Customers now have immense power at their fingertips and they purchase based on the depth of their relationships. Think about the words organizations use to describe people – lead, warm body, consumer – and you begin to see the disconnect. Focus on really get to know your customers and developing a culture that celebrates them and you’ll be set up for success.
3. View online social interactions as a natural extension of what you already do offline. “Digital natives” are a growing percentage of organizations and they expect interactions to take place online. Getting your leaders to embrace social tools and see them as part of their “communications toolbox” helps the entire organization see using social as an important part of their workday. This “behavior modeling” is a critical step to get your entire organization participating in the online conversation. This point was driven home during a presentation with Ralf Larsson from Electrolux. He showed a video of their CEO explaining the power of their internal online community and encouraging the entire company to get online. Get leaders to that “aha moment” and they’ll never look back.
It may seem that I’ve just rattled off some ideas that are at best just barely related to community managers or community management. In fact, if you’re able to move your organization forward in these three areas it not only removes hurdles your community manager has to clear each day, it also shines light on the hard work they do all year long. Now get out there and appreciate a community manager today!
Jim Storer leading a #CMAD roundtable discussion at IBM Connect.