Okay … maybe not. We are in the digital age so put this in your CEO’s Inbox.
This past Thursday, I had the honor of sitting on a panel for “CEO Leadership” hosted by the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) at The Harvard Club in NY. The panel started with an excellent presentation by Robert Reiss from The CEO Show. Robert highlighted the seven key elements of the transformative CEO as covered in his recently co-authored book, “The Transformative CEO: Impact Lessons from Industry Game Changers.”
After interviewing numerous Fortune 500 CEOs, the seven key attributes of a transformative CEO were identified as follows:
1. Create new value
2. Have a higher purpose
3. Culture is the CEO’s number one job
4. Learn from other industries
5. Spot and ride the wave
6. Use the whole cow
7. Obstacles open doors
I was invited to the panel to represent a perspective on how the digital world effects transforming organizations and leaders. So I would like to share the digital and social slant on Reiss’s elements of the transforming CEO.
Let’s start by stating the implication, challenge, and the opportunity that the emergence of the digital world has on corporations … in today’s social media world, everything is transparent. The good and bad of a company is publicized and socialized. Focusing on this framework, you can see direct digital ramifications of the seven elements of the transformative CEO.
The transformative CEO creates new value and drives the organization to have a purpose. As the CEO determines of the value and purpose, they need to make sure the change resonates strong with their target audience. Social and digital platforms provide great insights. Issues and problems can be identified as people speak on social channels. The corporation’s audience conveys their interests and motivations. Multiple scaled conversations can drive value, purpose, and innovation.
Listening can also reveal trends and new opportunities. Ways the brand can deliver value to its client base not previously recognized. Whole product solutions and uses not previously used. Digital creates strong ability to “spot and ride the wave” as well as “using the whole cow.”
While listening is extremely important, social platforms allow CEOs to communicate and reinforce corporate culture. CEOs and their communication staff can share aspects of their people and principles. Tony Hsieh and Zappos is a great example of accomplishing this. Just take a look at his blog or twitter account.
While CEOs use social to shape and evolve their organization, they can look to other organizations in other verticals and learn from them. No matter what vertical your brand is in, you need to look at industry leaders and learn from them. Take Coca-Cola and their use of content and UGC. Take Ford and their use of social to engage, connect, and inspire their target audience. Take Dove and their focus on inspiring women and a new generation of leaders. These are just a few examples.
The bottom line is that CEOs cannot allow their company to stay stagnant. They need to identify obstacles and create new opportunities from these obstacles. The corporation needs to keep their ear to the vast digital world. Numerous people are sharing issues and needs. This creates a great opportunity for brands to intervene and drive solutions for their targets’ needs.
When I wrap it all up, I would say the main objective is to understand your audience and deliver a value purpose that is important to them. There is an underlying mission to create an emotional bound with brand customers and prospects. In the digital world, people are raising their hands and speaking out. Use these target audience communications as a basis to create connection and emotional brand bonding. Use social channels to understand everything in your industry – customers, prospects, influencers, and competition.
I really like Reiss’ elements of the transformative CEO and see direct digital implications. The seven elements point to the need for CEOs to set an example by participating in social channels. If CEOs look to drive culture change that results in greater success, they need to set the example of listening and participating in social channels.
To quote a line in the article, Want To Prove Your Company Is Human? Get Your CEO To Tweet, “Perhaps it’s time C-Suite executives begin to realize the power of their own personal social engagement in creating authenticity and transparency, communicating company mission, and building brand loyalty.”
Are you ready to transform your company with innovation, purpose, and emotional connection to your target audience to create brand preference?
Make It Happen!