My work with CEOs and other leaders has proven time after time that the wisdom and experience a great leader brings to the table are the keys to making his or her digital transformation stick. Any one of the tens or hundreds of digital natives within your organization can teach you to use Twitter, but only you know how to use it (and other digital tools and platforms) to make your business stronger. As a leader, you are better than anyone at separating the signals from the noise and analyzing the emerging big picture.
I’m pleased to announce that my next book The Engaged Leader: A Strategy for Your Digital Transformation will be published by Wharton Digital Press on March 17, 2015, and is available now for preorder. The book was inspired by the many leaders I meet who confess that, while they grasp the need for a personal digital strategy that is as powerful as the one they have in place for their organizations, they are personally at a loss as to where to begin.
This means that while organizations are embracing digital channels to engage with empowered customers, leaders sit on the sidelines, hoping that nobody notices. I’ve heard a litany of excuses from leaders about their absence from digital and social channels, both internally and externally:
- “I don’t have the time.”
- “There’s no clear ROI.”
- “It’s my marketing team’s job.”
- “There’s no replacement for face-to-face engagement.”
- “I can’t get too familiar to my employees—they won’t respect me.”
- “Who cares what I have for lunch?”
- “I don’t have anything to say that hasn’t already been said.”
- “I don’t want to get my company in trouble.”
These statements may sound familiar, either because you have uttered them yourself or have heard your leaders say them. Now, I am not advocating that all leaders have Twitter accounts. In fact, I have no problem if a leader is not active digitally—but only if it’s a conscious, strategic choice. For example, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty has a Twitter account but has never posted to it. While Ginni and her team use the account to listen to the conversation on Twitter, she prefers to focus on engaging employees internally on several platforms. She’s constantly reading employee posts, sharing content, and engaging in discussions. From the start of her tenure, she strategically used digital channels to engage with employees in her efforts to push IBM in new directions.
Examples in the book include leaders from the following companies: Aetna, ANZ Banking Group, Cisco, Edelman, General Electric, Humana, IBM, Marriott, Save the Children, Telstra, and UPS. There are also guest appearances from Pope Francis and Barack Obama.
The framework at the heart of The Engaged Leader—listen, share, engage—serves as a template for leaders as they undergo their transformation. It grants permission to practice this new form of leadership and offers a roadmap for connecting directly with those we lead.
I Need Your Help
I’m always struck by the enormous generosity of those around me, and I humbly ask for your help to spread the word about The Engaged Leader. Here’s how you can help:
- Preorder The Engaged Leader. There’s nothing like being able to say you are among the first to receive a copy of a new book—except when you can say you also received an additional bonus for purchasing that book before it publishes. If you order by March 16, 2015, you will receive the opportunity to join my “Ask Me Anything” webinar on March 31, 2015.
- Consider using The Engaged Leader for leadership training. Need to train your executives and managers on how to lead digitally? Order by March 16, 2015 to take advantage of a special offer.
- Share The Engaged Leader. Here are a set of tweets, resources, and images that you can use to talk about the book. There’s also information on that page to request a review copy. I’m happy to do an interview for an article or podcast as well.
For more information about the book, including these special opportunities, please visit www.charleneli.com/the-engaged-leader.