Open Leadership – Some Sanity

Openness is central to the integration of social media with leadership and business.

I had one leader skeptically say, “Let’s see what happens three years from now,” as if social media was going away like a fad or bad dream. I say, “bad dream,” because I think large, top down, command and control organizations are scrambling like cock roaches under the glare that openness creates. In so doing, they are missing opportunity.

In many cases, command and control business cultures require secrecy and fear. Secrecy creates fear and fear motivates underlings to lie by telling top-dogs what they want to hear.

Openness undermines secrecy, diminishes fear, and nurtures trust.

How Open – Some sanity about Social Media

Social Media hasn’t ended the basic idea that business exists to add value to customers and constituents in ways that generate profit. Drucker put it this way, “The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.”

The power and relevance of Social Media depends on alignment with the purpose of business.

Openness for the sake of openness is weak, foolish, and ineffective. Additionally, openness isn’t a magic genie that cures your leadership problems, creates world peace, and generates unending wealth. If you aren’t careful, it actually creates problems.

Charlene Li

Charlene Li explains the four strategic objectives that openness can achieve.

  1. Learning. First and foremost, organizations know that they must learn from employees, customers, and partners before they can do anything else.
  2. Dialog. Communications – both internal and external – transforms a relationship from that of shouting out one way messages to a dialog, between equals. Along the way people become more engaged.
  3. Support. People both inside and outside the organization need support at different times – ranging from pre-sale to post-sale.
  4. Innovating. Creativity needs to be fostered, but both inside and outside the organization.

Tomorrow: Open Leadership – the Failure Imperative

Yesterday’s post: Open Leadership


What can openness do for you or your organization?

What should organizations NOT be open about?


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