July 26, 2013

The Role of the CEO in the Engaged Economy

There is nothing wrong with changing a plan when the situation has changed,”

Roman philosopher, Seneca

For businesses to thrive in the new engaged Economy they have to be willing and able to rapidly adapt and change to meet customers, employees and partners right where they are – and today, that place is the social landscape.   Never before has being socially oriented, seamlessly connected and highly engaged, been so critical to the health of the enterprise.

At Enterasys we are responding to the way our customers want to work.  We are the first company to bring social machines to the market with devices that humanize the network interactions over the social medium. Through our enterprise social network, critical content is shared to get immediate feedback from our customers and partners.  We ensure that our employees are continuously connected and engaging by giving all 1,000 people in the company a tablet, smartphone or both.

But how does the role of the CEO fit into our social strategy? The CEO, as the leader of the organization, has a unique and important opportunity to embrace social channels to set the tone for the entire organization to power business growth today and in the future.

A recent survey from Weber Shandwick finds that 76% of executives believe CEOs should be utilizing social media channels and that the benefits of a socially-engaged CEO were all magnified when the CEO was also a blogger. In addition, 80% of executives with socially active CEOs believed their CEOs social engagement was a good way of sharing news and information about the company, and 78% believed it had a positive impact on the company’s reputation.

My own experience in talking with many of our executive level customers backs these statistics up.  Joanna Young, CIO of the University of New Hampshire, has used social media to become a “CIO Plus” and finds that not only does social media make her life easier by breaking down the barriers to communication, but it accelerates the speed of connecting with people and organizations which translates into helping her to accelerate her contribution as a CIO.

A recent blog post on theguardian, The role of the CEO on social media, by Ben Afia provides a nice summary of why social media for CEOs makes perfect sense: “As customers we are increasingly concerned about the people behind the companies we buy stuff from and as employees we want to work for organisations we believe in. Companies need to sound more human, and there’s no better way to sound more human, and accessible, than for CEOs to be talking on social media.”

At the end of the day it’s all about creating meaningful and lasting relationships with customers and creating the kind of company that people want to work for and do business with and if going social can help to enable that, then count me in.

About The Contributor:
Chris CrowellChief Operating Officer

Chris Crowell was Chief Operating Officer of Extreme Networks. Crowell brought more than 20 years of leadership experience to the role – building collaborative organizations with customer focus, while driving profitable revenue growth for technology companies. Crowell was responsible for all aspects of the Extreme Networks sales and marketing operations and is the former CEO of Enterasys Networks.

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