Kudos to the CEO who left one of my training workshops and took some time to look at how he, his employees and his company looked on LinkedIn.
After doing some review, not overly stealthy the way, he noticed that a senior member of his executive team seemed to be using LinkedIn differently. The tip off was they were actually using LinkedIn, after not being very engaged previously. The person who has paid no attention to LinkedIn, their profile or their network, and is suddenly pretty active, sends a loud signal. Note to self.
When asked about this, the executive team member ultimately shared that they were looking for a job after almost a decade with the company. Of course, this prompted an entirely different conversation.
What if something like this happens in your organization? Here are the main takeaways that, if you are on the leadership team, you should immediately glean from this story.
Leadership is still at odds with the value that social networks and channels bring to them individually and their companies. LinkedIn is a business network – stop thinking of it as social media. Moms, grandparents and tweens are not using LinkedIn. Your clients, potential talent, prospects, strategic partners, current and potential competitors are. Still not interested?
If you don’t know how something works, you will never find what makes it tick. Few CEOs and leadership teams understand how to leverage LinkedIn fully: it’s a way to engage with your employees, clients and prospects, understand who they network with and what they value professionally.
Do you feel like it isn’t necessary to engage with your employees? No worries, just know a competitor’s CEO may. The smart CEOs and business owners are building pipelines for talent and sales and introducing those folks to their HR and leadership teams.
Who doesn’t learn something from observing and listening on the train, airplane, networking event or in the hotel lobby? I know it can get noisy. However I guarantee, if you zoom in, there is insight to be gained. Not listening and engaging on LinkedIn just means you’re the person who puts your head down in the sand or puts on those noise reducing headphones. The person with the headphones on may be the last to know the planes going down.
Take some time away from the distractions of your day, sit down, log-in to LinkedIn (the desktop version, not the mobile app) and review your personal and company presence.
Does your LinkedIn profile and LinkedIn Company Page represent your personal and corporate brand? How many Company Page followers do you have? Who are they? Why are they following your LinkedIn Company page? More than 70% of people follow a Company Page because they are interested in working there.
How does your executive team look on LinkedIn?
How do your sales leader and team leverage their profile and networks to add value, network, and gain a competitive advantage?
Does your talent acquisition team use LinkedIn to share and provide greater context to why your company should be on others’ lists of prospective employers?
Look at your top producing salespeople, operations, IT team members. How are they portraying your company? Do they have strong personal brands and valuable networks or do they look like they have missed the boat entirely?
Now, you may have some folks who are contrarians. They don’t want to use LinkedIn and other channels and tools. I get it. But those aren’t the people I want on my team. Even if they don’t use it, they should look good.
Do you update and share strategies and best practice guidelines for LinkedIn and social channels within your company? Is there an expectation set? Share that there is a strategic business reason to leverage LinkedIn for research, networking, building subject expertise and finding talent with your executive team and employees.
Lessen the blow. If one of your top producers or executive team members is going to leave, it can be painful, but better to know and plan than be blind-sighted.
I get that you’re busy. Everything is a value judgment in life and business. You are the face of your organization, and that means not just the mouthpiece but the eyes and ears. It’s your job to understand the trends, the insight and the one-offs so you can guide and connect the dots for further expansion, strategic alliances, as well as finding and retaining talent and helping to release those that no longer share your vision.
Stopping fighting, ignoring and spouting off. Start listening, engaging and connecting as part of your leadership journey. Listening provides the opportunity to ask powerful questions. The leader who isn’t asking questions is going to be in trouble.
For more on this topic, I encourage you to check out this post, written by Kevin McKeown in 2014. Dated? Not one bit. Kevin is a Vistage Chair in Seattle who challenges his member’s to reset their mindset around LinkedIn and social listening.
And, don’t forget to check out more of our LinkedIn posts on Intero Advisory.