Social Media Today: Is Your CEO Listening to What You Have to Say?

It’s universally acknowledged that developing and nurturing relationships is advantageous, both professionally and personally. The new question however, is – has social media and networking evolved enough to have become a professional must – and on top of that, how best to use it?

This year has shown the incredible power that social media can have. It’s now possible for every person to have a voice, to stand up for what they believe in, and to actually make that voice heard. All around the world, people, young and old, have used this power, from Egypt to Spain, from Libya to the United States.

In the Forbes’ article “Social Power and the Coming Corporate Revolution,” this idea is extended beyond the political and personal context to the corporate one. How can social media affect the way a company is run, or the way employees are expected to interact with clients and coworkers, or even what actions are deemed appropriate for a CEO? According to the author of this article David Kirkpatrick, “in this new world of business, companies and leaders will have to show authenticity, fairness, transparency, and good faith,” because let’s face it, if they go wrong, chances are people are going to find out!

According to John Hagel, from Deloitte’s Center of the Edge, “Trust is built by sharing vulnerability, the more you expose and share your problems, the more successful you become. It’s not about the top executive dictating what needs to be done and when, it’s about providing individuals with the power to connect.”

Has your company gone social? In your own online communications, what percentage of your professional messaging is personal?

Ritu Walia is the Member Coordinator at myGreenlight.

Oh Netflix, why?

So first, on July 12th,  there was this.

And then…oh so much anger.  And people leaving – deciding to share their memberships, or go to the Red Box, or use Pay Per View.

(Price increase + increased complexity) * Reduced value +

Semi-condescending communication =

Unhappy Ex-customers

Over the weekend, remaining members were sent a message from Reed Hastings, Co-Founder and CEO of Netflix.  Many didn’t realize it was from Netflix and deleted it as spam.  Those who opened it were treated to this.  Certainly, this was intended as a display of vulnerable transparency.  A mea culpa.

However, it was received more along the lines of too little, too late.

In the words of one of our myGreenlight staffers:

I was annoyed about the change in prices. I changed my subscription because of it but I didn’t lose sleep over it. I didn’t need an apology. I think it is weird that they announced the company split in an apology email.

I don’t understand why they have to split into two companies. Lots of companies have different departments that do very different things. I feel like this change will be very annoying if I have to go to two different websites to manage my account. I probably feel worse than I did initially.

My favorite insight into the current situation is here, at The Oatmeal.

What do you think? How could Netflix have communicated the changes without alienating customers?

Mini Mission Monday

One of the key things that we talk about here at myGreenlight is the idea of strategically linking people to your goals.  In addition to thinking about WHAT you need to do –  if you think about WHO can help, and HOW you can enlist them to do so, success is that much closer at hand.

Look at what you need to get done this week.  Pick one thing and then think about WHO could help make it happen.  How are you going to reach out to them in a generous way? Now, do it.

Relationship Roundup

  Kibibi Springs is the myGreenlight Community Manager.

This week’s roundup is focused on managing the online/offline connection balance and knowing when to invest in some face time.

Who’s in Your Room? — Thanks @dgupta5150, for an introduction to Sonar,  an app that now lets you view which of your Linked In connections are in the same location you are.  Now you can take full advantage of the opportunity to spontaneously connect face-to-face with people you’ve attracted to your online network.

Setting the Bar High – When it comes to our business relationships, everyone is in the business of customer service. This week myGreenlight’s Director of Customer Service Kristen Bassick, asks us to take an objective look at our customer service experiences and think about the customer service impressions we leave on those we serve in our careers. Check it out.

Make Time for Face Time.  While online social tools and virtual office arrangements have made it easier to facilitate introductions and get our work done in many ways, online engagement can’t replace the good ol’ handshake, look in the eye and smile that has worked to connect us all for ages. This week’s HBR article The Secret Payoff of Meetings shares the new rules of engagement.

5 Ways to Connect with Other myGreenlight Members Before the End of the Year

  Kibibi Springs is the myGreenlight Community Manager.

It’s the fourth quarter countdown. That time of year when most of us are starting to reel in our relaxed summer agendas and get back to the business of progressing our goals. Nothing distinguishes the myGreenlight community more than their generosity towards helping others progress their goals. Your greatest help, best referral and next client could be one myGreenlight member away from reality. If you’re not part of the myGreenlight community, consider what avenues you’ll take to connect with your network in the coming quarter.

As you reestablish your routines for reaching out in your network, add one or more of these five myGreenlight resources to your activity list.

  1. Chat it up! — Hit the Forums to contribute a new conversation or to a fellow member’s conversation.
  2. Network Thoughtfully – myGreenlights’ monthly Social Capitalist call and blogs provides common ground for like minds.
  3. Peer Power – the My Community link puts members in touch with peers from their organization, making collaboration on internal ideas easy to achieve.
  4. Lifeline Groups/Directory – If you’re a Relationship Bootcamp Graduate, you have access to the full myGreenlight Directory. If you haven’t taken the step to form a Lifeline Group, developing a network to support your goals will accelerate your progress.
  5. Be vocal! – Leave something thoughtful for the community to think about and always feel free to reach out and tell me what you’d like from your myGreenlight experience.

Four Key Skills to Acquire Power

Tahl Raz is the co-author of Never Eat Alone and the host of myGreenlight’s Social Capitalist series. Click here for the full transcript from the interview: Social Capitalist Transcript – Jeffrey Pfeffer. Click here for the audio recording.

You won’t find the nitty-gritty realities of career advancement in most business self-help books and you won’t find it in the autobiographical leadership tomes of America’s most revered CEOs. You won’t find out what they really did to get to the top or how they really operated once they got there because so much of those realities have to do with power.

Getting and using power can be an ugly sport that just doesn’t jibe with the legacies CEOs want to leave. For academics and gurus, maybe it’s political correctness or an earnest desire of how things ought to be, but they too produce books heavy on feel-good notions like following your inner compass and the importance of humility. These lessons are important, but fall short on prescriptions for the work world as it really is.

To put it bluntly: the world is not just, your workplace is not fair, and how smart you are, how well you do your job, or how many people think you’re swell has far less to do with your success than almost anyone is willing to tell you.

Stanford Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer is one of the willing, and he shared those often unspoken power rules on a recent eye-opening session of the Social Capitalist. An outspoken truth-teller and academic rebel willing to question the orthodoxy, Professor Pfeffer proves again with his book, Power: Why Some People Have It and Other’s Don’t, why he’s one of our very top thinkers in management theory. (MyGreenlight members can click here to download the MP3 of my interview with Pfeffer.)

It’s natural to assume that the powerful of any organization have power because they’ve earned it through performance. But studies have shown it’s actually the other way around – power creates peak performance.

Pfeffer outlines four skills useful in acquiring power:

1. Self-knowledge and a Reflective Mindset: Obtaining power is in part theatre. The stage is your reputation and the steps to creating it are straightforward: make a good early impression, cultivate an image by focusing on your strengths, use media and events to help build your visibility, and create a large enough network of people who will sing your praises. But what kind of impression do you make now? What are the strengths on which to build your image? Do you look people directly in the eye, which connotes not only power but also honesty and directness, or do you look down and project weakness? Being objective about yourself in the moments in which you interact, paying attention to your strengths and weaknesses and how you’re viewed by people, are critical if you’re to adapt and evolve your reputation.

2. Confidence and the Ability to Project Self-assurance: Authority is 20 percent given, 80 percent taken. We take authority through the way we act, talk, and appear. You need to project confidence and assurance, even if you aren’t sure what you’re doing. Any one particular event is less important than your reaction to it: Are you upbeat? Are you projecting sure-handed confidence? To convey that everything is fine and under your control, even under dire circumstances, often means acting in ways contrary to your real feelings. Most people can’t do this, which is exactly what makes it so valuable a skill.  But remember: just as important as the skill itself is making sure the right people notice. The best way to ensure those at higher levels know what you are achieving is to tell them. The importance of standing out contradicts much conventional wisdom. Fact is there isn’t a leader anywhere who hasn’t told the right person or people at the right time, “I’m the greatest and here’s why you need me for this job.”

3. The Ability to Read Others and Empathize with Their Point of View. Many of Pfeffer’s strategies revolve around self-enhancement—the idea that people like to feel good about themselves and do things to ensure that result. The surest way to build a better power base is to help those with more power enhance their positive feelings about themselves. Is this just a fancy way of telling us we should all be ass-kissers? Not entirely. The key is to understand what matters to those around you. Genuine flattery is certainly effective, but so is asking for help or going out of your way to do a seemingly small task—a bit of extracurricular research into an interest of your boss, attending a birthday party or even a funeral of a colleague, or visiting them or their family members when they are ill.

4. Capacity to Tolerate Conflict. You have to be willing to scrap. Because most people are conflict-averse, they avoid difficult situations and difficult people, frequently acceding to requests or changing their positions rather than paying the emotional price of standing up for themselves and their views. If you can handle difficult and stress-filled situations effectively, you have an advantage over most people. Powerful people get things done, and to get things done it’s almost universally assumed that sooner or later push will come to shove and the powerful will be on the right side of that equation. That’s probably why studies show that the people we perceive to be the most competent are also those that are perceived to be a little tough, and even mean.

The reality is that we all exist in hierarchical settings where there are always competitors for status and advancement.  So assert yourself and actively promote your own interests. You don’t need to become a ruthless power-mongering monster, just a little more aware of the real rules of the game and a little more confident that you have what it takes to be a player.

What about you: Are you playing the power game? Got tips for doing it without being a bully?

Setting the Bar High

Kristen is the Director of Customer Experience for myGreenlight. She’s been working with Ferrazzi Greenlight since 2010, helping with social media and market efforts. Now she cracks the (metaphorical) whip to make sure myGreenlight participants have an amazing experience.

Think of the term “customer service.”

Then think about calling your cable company.

What do you expect that service to look like? Feel like?  What emotions do you think you’ll be feeling when you are done?

OK.  You can calm down now.  It was just imaginary.  Sorry for putting you through that.

Now imagine a company that is all about relationships.  This company stakes its reputation on teaching clients to improve their relationships.  They are focused on the value of people.  The cornerstones of this company’s philosophy are generosity, vulnerability, candor, and accountability.

Imagine calling that company for help.

Your expectations are pretty high now, aren’t they?  It should feel amazing to deal with this company.  You should feel how much everyone you speak with values you.  You should not be frustrated.  Balls should never be dropped. You should never feel like anything less than a VIP.

Creating that experience is my job.

Luckily I am surrounded by an amazing team of people who are equally committed to making sure dealing with myGreenlight is a real-world example of what we are teaching you about what business relationships can and should look like.

In keeping with that – we are wide open for candid feedback – positive and negative.  If we get it wrong, let us know so we can fix it.  If we get it right, let us know so we make sure to institutionalize it.

I am excited about building something we can all feel good about.

Tell us what you think amazing customer service means, and how you know when you are getting it.

How to Turn Work Stress Into An Asset

Ritu Walia is the Member Coordinator at myGreenlight.

Stress. Even just reading the word makes my palms sweaty. In the world that we live in today, stress is ubiquitous. That’s why this Harvard Business Review article about how to “turn stress into an asset” caught my attention.

According to the author, Amy Gallo, “recent research is showing that work strain, when managed correctly, can actually have a positive impact on productivity and performance.” Starting with correctly identifying what stress is, then reframing the stress and focusing on what’s in your control, to creating a network that supports you, and finally getting some stress handling experience, there is a simple five step process on how to make stress manageable and not something that dilapidates you.

Step four on this to-do list is particularly relevant to the myGreenlight community: create a network of support. Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, says that “the company you keep also makes a difference. Surround yourself with people who do not complain or ruminate upon things they can’t change.”

Another expert on this subject, author of Better Under Pressure: How Great Leaders Bring Out the Best in Themselves and Others, Justin Menkes makes a very similar claim: “It’s important to have that outlet so you know you can freak the heck out if you need to, you may not use this option, but it can be comforting to know it’s there. Build supportive relationships when you’re not stressed.”

Have you ever felt a burden lifted because you had a friend to lean on? Have you ever been that friend? As our challenge, let’s take Justin Menkes’ advice and take one step to building supportive relationships today!

Mini Mission Monday

September marks the beginning of back-to-school.  Remember how great it was to see all of your friends after the long relaxing summer?  Even though you probably aren’t heading back to the classroom, you can still celebrate the arrival of fall in a social way.

Do something to mark the end of summer – a get together with friends you haven’t seen, surprise your office with donuts, or even send the postcards you didn’t get a chance to mail during your vacation.  Use the transition of seasons as an excuse to connect. (Although you don’t actually need an excuse!)

Relationship Roundup

Kibibi Springs is the myGreenlight Community Manager.

Happy post-holiday to you all!  If you’re like those of us in the Greenlight office, you’re really missing that extra day in your work week and scrambling to make the moments count towards the progress of your goals.  Hopefully these references from fellow community members will help kick start next week’s agenda.  Till then – rest up, Monday is right around the corner.

myGreenlight community member @Ronald Yau recommends the following goodies.

  • Getting Mentors, a great HBR article for lining up the 3 perfect mentors.
  • We are a socially networked nation. Half of all Americans are now using social networks according to this recent Pew Poll.  Great!  Makes it that much easier for each of to get connected.  Just don’t tell my parents who have yet to send me a friend request.

Decision Fatigue?  Please raise your hand if you can relate. @Jason Womack must have been reading my mind when he referred this Fast Company article  on how to maintain focus and willpower on the things we want to change and maintain in our lives. Dully noted Jason.  Thank you!