25 Inspiring Global Social Business Leaders: Why they are shattering the traditional workplace as we know it

The Economist Intelligent Unit

Last year, I served on an Economist Intelligence Unit (@TheEIU) advisory board (sponsored by IBM [@IBM]) that was tasked with determining the 25 most inspiring Social Business Leaders. To achieve this, we sought out individuals who were considered “visionaries, culture shapers, strategic thinkers, storytellers, and entrepreneurs.” The campaign, promoted on Twitter using the hashtag #socbiz25, was a tremendous success, having recently been nominated for an AdAge BtoB award. Exciting times!

Since the release of the Economist Power to the People The Social EmployeeEIU list, I have continued working with IBM, advocating the value of social leaders in businesses of all shapes and sizes. And most recently, as a way of putting all the pieces together, Maria Huntalas – Sr. Marketing Manager, IBM Social Business, Strategy and Solutions, who spearheaded this project, recently released an e-book,  25 Inspiring Global Social Business Leaders: Why they are shattering the traditional workplace as we know it, which is available by clicking here.

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This is an excellent social leader primer, covering how people and technology can come together to create something truly powerful—and how social leaders can use these connections to push ahead into the future.

And make no mistake, the future belongs to the social leader. As I wrote for IBM a few months ago, we operate in an era of business that’s rarely linear. Most of us will switch jobs—and roles—a number of times in our professional careers. Our destinies are in our hands more than ever, and with this development comes a newfound responsibility to manage our personal brands by building communities of engagement centered around the fields most important to us.

25_Social_Business_Leaders_finalThe beauty of the social leader is that they’re often self-selecting. They’re the entrepreneurial people—operating at all levels of an organization—who are constantly looking for new ways to learn, to share, to consolidate resources, and to build stronger collaborative ties that often extend beyond company walls. Sometimes they’re managers or members of the C-Suite, but other times they’re just enthusiastic team members interested not only in doing their job, but in developing their skill sets, furthering their careers, and generating greater visibility within an organization.

The numbers on the value of social leadership are already starting to come in. In a 2014 BRANDFog survey, 83 percent of respondents indicated that social CEOs were seen as being better at building relationships with customers, employees, and investors—and about three-quarters of respondents said that social CEO engagement made them better overall leaders, boosting their credibility among both internal and external stakeholders.

This survey may have been limited to social executives—a type of social leader—but the role of the top brass in any organization has always been to model the best practices they expect from their employees. As these top social leaders go, so too goes their entire organization.

Of course, that’s the win-win of social leadership: Empowering these employees will not only help them in their personal careers, but it will improve an organization’s ability to innovate—ultimately positioning the brand as a leader within its industry. And of course, the most respected companies attract the best employees—creating a positive feedback loop of success.

How’s that for a silver lining?

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Below are recent endorsements for The Social Employee (McGraw-Hill, August 2013) by Tom Peters and David Aaker on their social networks, but if you want to see more of their endorsements click here.

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In The Social Employee, we go behind the scenes with several leading brands—such as IBM, AT&T, Dell, Adobe, Southwest Airlines, Cisco, Acxiom, and Domo—pulling the lid off the inspiring social business success stories that have propelled these companies into the 21st century. These cutting-edge brands have all come to the same realization: the path to social business lies through empowering the social employee.

See what others are saying about The Social Employee and order your copy today!


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“Great brands have always started on the inside, but why are companies taking so long to leverage the great opportunities offered by internal social media? . . . The Social Employee lifts the lid on this potential and provides guidance for businesses everywhere.” JEZ FRAMPTON, Global Chairman and CEO, Interbrand


Amazon_agold-bookThe Social Employee offers an unparalleled behind-the-scenes look at the social business success stories of some of the biggest brand names in the business world, including IBM, AT&T, Dell, Adobe, Southwest Airlines, Cisco, Acxiom, and Domo. These cutting-edge brands have all come to the same realization: the path to social business lies through empowering the social employee.

The brands that leverage their employee base in order to engage customers and prospects through social media are the ones destined to win the marketing wars. This book not only details the astronomical rise of the social employee, but also outlines the innovative methods that leading companies have employed to foster cultures of enthusiastic and engaged workers.

FORMcGrawHill_RedEWORD by David C. Edelman, Global Co-Leader, Digital Marketing & Sales Practice, McKinsey & Company

AFTERWORD by Kevin Randall, Vice President of Brand Strategy & Research at Movéo Integrated Branding, and journalist for The New York Times, The Economist and Vanity Fair.

Download ~> Free Chapter 3 – “Brands Under Pressure”




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