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Buzz2010: 5 ways to achieve open leadership

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Digital Technology

This guest post is by Jennifer McNally, SmartBrief’s director of editorial operations.

“Focus on the relationship, not the technology.” Sage advice from social media expert Charlene Li, who kicked off our Buzz2010 series of breakfast meetings with tips for associations to be more transparent as they embrace social media.

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn may be the vehicles you use to get out information, but the key is in the dialog you have with your constituents, whether they are association members, employees or consumers. ASAE’s Reggie Henry seconded Li’s message, saying “it’s about making members matter, rather than focusing on making us matter to members.” In all aspects of social media, the relationship you’re having with the customer or member should come first and foremost.

Li ended by giving the group 5 takeaways for promoting open leadership, which she defines as “having the confidence and humility to give up the need to be in control, while inspiring commitment from people to accomplish goals.”

  • Align openness with your strategic goals. Make sure you’re on the same page with both.
  • Calculate the new lifetime value of a “customer.” Those “customers” who offer referrals, insights and support may now have a greater value.
  • Find and develop your open leaders. Often they already exist within your organization.
  • Prepare your organization. Organize for whatever type of openness works for your group: organic, centralized or coordinated.
  • Embrace failure. It’s going to happen, so make the most of it and take the lessons you learn and apply them.

For more tips from social-media experts on risk management and return on investment, register for SmartBrief and SocialFish’s summer breakfast series Buzz2010.