Archive for June, 2010

Which ways are your chairs facing?

June 30, 2010

I like a recent post by the master of social media – Chris Brogan about which way the chairs are facing. To you, the business, are your chairs facing your customers?  Building a community requires your chairs to be facing each other.  Perhaps in a circle. But if you are simply presenting or giving a speech, then the chairs will face a podium.

Which way does your company’s chairs face?

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The Office Bully

June 30, 2010

In a previous job, I worked for a male boss who was, essentially, a bully. At the time, he seemed like a nice enough guy – a little insipid but nonetheless, a nice enough sort of guy.

Until I resigned.

Then it all became incredibly personal.  The question for me was how to deal with the situation.

For me, the best course of action was to report the bully to the authorities straight away. I had no idea how the situation was going to progress and the level of nastiness became very difficult to deal with. I found the government employment tribunal and detailed my concerns to them so at least I would have something in writing if the situation worsened. I also spoke to colleagues – both past and present and detailed my concerns to them to double-check if I was overreacting.  They assured me I was not.

The thing is though, if he had acted in a professional manner and not taken my resignation personally, he would have had an advocate in the market place. I was leaving because I wanted to do something else and I was not challenged.  I liked the company but I needed a more challenging position. There was nothing personal about it.

Anyway, once I resigned, the bully did some leg-work and found out the name of my new employer.  He forwarded them a copy of my previous employment contract with him and said he would sue both of us if I revealed anything inappopriate about him or his clients.

Now I don’t know about you, but I work in a professional industry. I have my own personal code of ethics and have always acted responsibly. Heck, my doctorate is in ethics! To me, him sending my employment contract out to my new boss was a complete breach of employee privacy.

And to be repeatedly bullied became enormously stressful. It initially complicated starting my new job although the new company was incredibly supportive as well as being astounded about his behaviour.  They also obtained legal advice.  The remaining account executives who worked for the bully resigned in protest as well once they saw how he treated staff and realised his management style was unacceptable.

And I just read that two more staff have left – the turnover continues and, beacuse he won’t ask himself why he has such a high turnover, the company will continue to flounder ethically and morally.

All he needs to do is take a look in the mirror.

Social media – Common Mistakes

June 29, 2010

A lot of new people coming into the social media space make errors that are preventable and avoidable.  If you want to avoid these errors, you need to think about a few things before you move into this space.

  1. Why are you doing this in the first place? Is it for a logical reason? It doesn’t matter whether you want to learn about the tools that are around or whether you want to increase your customer/client base but just understand why you are here, and what your plan is, because different end goals will require different strategies.
  2. If you are a company, create social media policies to protect your brand. You need to know that staff understand what you expect of them if they reference you in an online forum. This is not to say that they can’t refer to the company, but they need to adhere to certain guidelines and not make commerically sensitive announcements, reveal client confidentialities and so on.
  3. Ensure that any people acting on your behalf (or the company’s behalf), understand the importance of acting in a transparent manner. Ethical online behaviour is critical.
  4. Don’t defer your social media campaigns to young staff members just because they are young. Social media is a media and communications related function, and should not be handed to either the IT guys (because they know what some of these toosl are), or to the young 20 year old who just started (because she is young she must know about Facebook). No. Don’t do it. Keep it in comms.
  5. Don’t use tools if they are inappropriate to your brand. LinkedIn may work for you – Facebook may not.
  6. Answer and respond. Remember it is not just about gathering 10,000 twitter followers. This means nothing when you have a tickertape parade of tweets cascading throughyour Tweetdeck. What you are looking for is a relationship, a dialogue. To correct errors, provide info and create a channel of communication that may be of value. Its not just about lip-service.
  7. Don’t tweet marketing speak corporate messages – I don’t care and I won’t follow. Help me, engage with me. Provide me with something of value.
  8. 140 characters can backfire on you if you are a jerk. See point 4 above – remember you are in a public space and act accordingly.
  9. It’s not just about the money – although that may follow. Its about the people – your customers – and what they need or want from you. If you push sales drivel, I will unfollow, unlike or disconnect.
  10. If you aren’t in this space, you WILL become a dinosaur.  New tools are constantly coming down the line and you need to know how to use them. If you don’t learn web 2.0, how will you cope with web 3.0?