“Therefore real success comes less from controlling people that report to you, and more from the ability to align stakeholders who surround you.”–Your Career Needs to Be Horizontal
Social media multiplies effort beyond a local team and provides access to anyone in the organization with an online profile. The urgent or reactive response is to send the same message on every social media channel, but the strategic response is to increase and strengthen the connections between people in ways that will lead to greater alignment, informed decision making, and saved resources.
Most ministries and non-profits have functioned more like a network than a hierarchy, but social media has accentuated & illuminated the networks. The assumption has been that the senior most leader leads the greatest change, but I believe social media can reveal small but powerful hubs of people that have greater impact than any one person.
Respond By Increasing Access
Those new to a networked environment need to use social media to build relationships with senior leaders by sharing interesting content and personal information that increases trust. Just a few years ago it would have taken years to gain access to a senior leader from a different section of an organization (especially if they were located elsewhere), but now it can be as easy as an @ reply or a Facebook friend request.
Senior leaders need to not only sign up for every social media profile they can get (even if the purpose is to “squat” on the profile and control one’s online reference points), but also regularly show up on the ones their constituents use most. Many assumptions are made about those that do not have a Facebook or Twitter account–most are negative.
I have great hope for organizations that use social media to harness the informal but powerful networks to maximize their resources.