Executives are charged with executing on a set of goals. They all want to accomplish those goals in a way that maximizes their investments. Executives need to marshal a range of constituencies (their team, peers across the organization, customers, partners, experts, consultants) to make things happen. Most executives do this by creating a plan and then packing their calendars with meetings, webinars, conferences – all of which they use to negotiate their position and drive progress. Their email inboxes are also overflowing with similar interactions. Those executives that best maximize their time are the most effective and as a result, executives are always looking to understand with whom their time is best spent.
One-to-one communications – or even small group communications – is limiting when your most precious resource is time. Regardless of the tools and methods of interaction, executives all have communities they want to influence but until recently they haven’t been able to see the community as a whole and they have dealt with constituencies individually or in small groups. Social software has made communities and ecosystems visible.
By taking a community approach to an operational goal, executives can do the following:
- Maximize their communications investment by making their positions visible to a community, enabling the community to build momentum around their ideas
- Quickly understand community influencers, regardless of explicit roles
- More quickly understand objections to and interest in their approach or project so they can adjust their strategy if needed
- Reduce the time their teams spend sharing information one by one and eliminating misunderstandings that happen as a result
- Allow individuals closest to the problem to speak directly to everyone else
- Discuss opinions, positions, and goals with many more people synchronously than they can using any other approach
At The Community Roundtable, our goal is to help business leaders understand the dynamics of communities, how to communicate in networked environments most effectively, and how to use that knowledge to maximize investments. To us, community management is not just the day to day tasks of interacting with people online but a strategic perspective on efficient operations. Done well, it reduces the cost of sales, increases employee and customer loyalty, reduces internal duplication and waste, and helps to empower employees.
We will be discussing the Future of Communities today at FutureM in Boston and from our perspective, communities are the future of business. I’m betting most executives do not yet see themselves as community managers – do you think a community approach is prudent for your senior executive team or is that extending the concept of community management too far in your mind?