I made a slide for safekeeping of this comment. I thought it was a mirror of the times ahead. Not only do CEOs and other executives need media training but they have to be able to speak in tweet-sized bits like the CEO of one major marketing services holding company that was recently in the news. When it came to the failed merger with another several weeks ago, he said the following when asked by a journalist: “If I had to summarize in a tweet, it would be, corporate culture, complexity and time.” In a google search, it turned up over 80,000 mentions. It sure did travel.
On a related topic, the president and CEO of Tangerine Bank (formerly ING DIRECT Canada), Peter Aceto explained why CEOs should blog in Forbes. He starts by saying there are three reasons why – reputation, inspiration and pride. [He also cites our research on Social CEOs] He rightfully makes the argument that if you want to inspire your employees to go the extra mile to help build the best company reputation, do something that instills pride and inspires them to be as productive as they can be. One of those ways is through leadership embracing social media to be the best leaders they can. Aceto makes some other arguments which I wholeheartedly endorse:
- Successful leaders are no longer measured by stock price alone
- Own your story and tell it through whatever means you have (be it face to face, social or symbolically)
- What you don’t do can be just as visible as what you do in fact do (love this because it is so true)
Being able to think in 140 characters – the length of a Tweet – is a must have for CEOs today. In fact, it is a discipline that ought to be practiced regularly in order to distill what your company is all about and what your vision is that adds meaning and purpose to your reputation every day. We used to say that CEOs needed to be practiced in their elevator speech – a few sentences that encapsulate what a company does or why it exists. Now we are down to 140 character datagrams that shape reputation.