Social Media and Leadership Success: A Few Parallels

When I first learned playing Guitar, I focused too much on notes, specifics and techniques. The more I practiced, the more I realized that notes, specifics and techniques are important for producing good music, but not sufficient.

So what was missing? The starting point of becoming a good artist is to have an emotion, an intent. Once you can touch the emotion and are intentional about it, tools and techniques are generally not difficult to master. Music played with technique may entertain us at the best but music played with emotion can move us.

In casual conversations, a lot of friends express a desire to start a blog. This desire is mostly fueled by success of others. They seek help in starting a blog, in creating a Facebook fan page and a Twitter account. Here’s what I tell them:

The intent of connecting with others meaningfully is at the heart of social media (and leadership) success. With intent comes emotion which leads to difference. It is about liking people, interacting with them, learning from them and contributing back.

It is not about being like someone else, not about ability to use tools but about being your authentic and credible self. Once you are intentional and have right emotion to feel the content (be it music, writing, social media, programming, whatever), tools and techniques are easy to learn.

Unfortunately, most people do the inverse. They first focus on tricks and techniques and then search for emotional connect. Even before they start doing something, they want to measure their success. They end up spreading themselves thin on various social channels and often create noise.

Finally, like any other successful journeys, social media is a process and not a destination. Here again, intent and emotion fuels us through the road. I have seen companies hiring a social media marketing lead and expecting immediate business leads. It seldom happens.

Once you understand the four aspects below, you will do better, not only in social media but in other areas of life as well:

  • Be intentional. Develop an internal need to do something before attempting it.
  • Fuel it with emotion. Understand the impact of what you say and do. Be passionate.
  • In the beginning, don’t measure. Focus on contribution, not on results. Later, measure right things.
  • Enjoy the journey. Seek out new avenues. Connect meaningfully with others. Make a difference.

Join in the conversation: How do you use social media? What parallels can you draw that can help us in other areas of life and work?

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Note: This ideas in this post emerged while talking to Becky Robinson at Weaving Influence – as the name of her blog suggests, she uses social media to connect authors with online audiences, weave an influence and make a difference. Thanks Becky!

SHRM India Top-20 Indian HR Influencers on Social Media

This week, SHRM India released a list of “Top 20 Indian HR Influencers on Social Media” where I am featured at #4. It came to me as an unexpected yet a very pleasant surprise. Readers of this blog know that I focus on the people, leadership and culture aspects of quality. I write on topics at the intersection of Leadership, People and Quality.

The list has some very prominent leaders including Kavi, Corporate Learning and Development Professional, Vineet Nayar, CEO of HCL Technologies, Gautam Ghosh, a veteran HR enthusiast and blogger, Abhijit Bhaduri, Chief Learning Officer at Wipro and so on. This recognition emphasizes one very important fact – that in a knowledge and services oriented world, people management and leadership moves beyond the confines of traditional HR Department. Every business leader, middle manager and aspiring leader has to play the role of an HR Manager – to inspire people, tap on their strengths and motivate them to deliver their best work. They have to to understand the nuances of dealing with people if they want to build a culture of excellence. This list is a step forward, because it starts an important debate on social media influence and its role in advancing conversations related to specific topics.

Here is the methodology SHRM followed:

Coming up with a list of Top 20 is a path-defining innovation as it entails sorting through the HR noise to find voices that reflect engaging ideas and insights. For this study, SHRM India compiled a list of 50 Twitter influencers and then shortlisted 20 individuals on various parameters including the follower count, HR related tweets, retweets, and impressions. Data for this report was collected over a period of four months, starting in November 2011 through until the end of February 2012. In a unique spin to gauge the influence of HR conversationalists on immediate audience, the SHRM India Influencer Score was also used for the first time. It factored in the relative standing of an influencer on the basis of followers and impressions, which were established as two key percentile ranks.

I am excited about this recognition because it recognizes the importance of “human factor” in quality. That people are at the core of excellence and all processes, metrics, tools and technologies are enablers of quality. People make it happen.

Additional Info:

– You can also download this report from SHRM India’s homepage.
– Here is the coverage of SHRM’s Top 20 list on Business Standard where I get a mention.

99Tribes by ActiveGarage – Building Valuable Relationships

Today, I would like to congratulate my friends at ActiveGarage for launching their flagship project  – 99Tribes which is a people discovery engine for Twitter.(See the announcement)

In real life, we quickly build connection with people who share common interests. 99Tribes allows you to discover people on Twitter who share your interests.

Consider the following:

Based on the patented Rawsugar technology, you can start discovering people by typing what you are interested in (popular examples being: marketing, sales, blogging etc.)

Like any directory, 99Tribes will show the search results. What happens next shows the power of discovery.

On the left column, you will notice a set of tags. These tags show the “other” interests of people displayed in the search results.

For example, marketing may be your interest and you search on Marketing. Looking at the tags on the left you may notice that a set of people interested in marketing are interested in music too. You click on music and now the search results are updated to reflect people who are interested in Marketing and Music. It does not stop there. The tags get updated and you may notice that there are number of people who are interested in Music and Marketing are also interested in Fashion and Art. Or Camping or Hiking.

This is a brilliant concept because it allows you to connect to like minded people.

The world of Twitter is magical world because it empowers you to build meaningful connections by having authentic conversations. It is no more about just building ‘connections’ but about building ‘valuable relationships’ – 99Tribes is a brilliant concept and also an opportunity to find more like minded people whom you can connect with to build meaningful relationships.

Check it out at 99Tribes.com

Bonus: Also check out why my friend Becky Robinson (at Mountain State University’s School of Leadership Development) loves social media – and what it means for leaders.

You might also like revisiting a series of 14 Quality and Improvement articles I wrote at ActiveGarage as a part of #QUALITYtweet series.

Be Defiant!

Here is yet another proof of how powerful social media can be. I am very glad to announce the official launch of my friend and guide Rajesh Setty’s new free eBook – defiant! Practical Tips for Thriving in Tough Times

Here are some of the key highlights of the book:

  • Its completely FREE and you can download it from here. (No Registration Required)
  • The entire project was conceived, created and implemented using the power of social media. The key tools used were LinkedIn Answers, Blog, Facebook and Twitter.
  • This book includes a collection of 80+ tips from 50+ smart people (including yours truly) who contributed to the project and shared their tips/ideas on how to thrive in a difficult time. I have shared the tip on how remaining alternatively skilled can really help you find your next opportunity. You can read my tip (#46) on page 64.

It is very inspiring to see how you can use the power of social media to create very relevant content.

I am sure you will enjoy the book as much as I did. If you like it, drop a note in the comments section.

Happy reading!