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May 24, 2012

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CEOs Get Social In 2012

By Dave Courbanou

IBM has unleashed the results of its latest CEO Study, surveying 1,700 CEOs across the globe in various industries. An interesting thread now runs across all major industries: openness. Not openness like in open source, but openness in a world of social networking, employee relationships and company transparency.

IBM calls it “employee empowerment,” but it’s really a paradigm shift on the relationship between employees, C-level executives, and the connection both parties have with each other and the markets they serve.

As it stands now, IBM has uncovered some compelling results. “Companies [which] outperform their peers are 30 percent more likely to identify openness” as a key reason for that success. Those companies which are embracing openness the most quickly are finding e-mail and traditional communication methods being replaced by online social networking interactions.

The relationship employees have with CEOs is also becoming less about “command and control,” and more about enabling employees to be individuals in their workplace, and thus, ad more value.

CEOs have softened to the idea that individuality is a detriment to company productivity. Instead, the gears have been shifted, focusing closely on how each individual can “unlock new models of collaboration,” helping build “unconventional teams” that outperform traditional employee work groups. Social media is the deriving factor that is “[reshaping] organizational structures,” providing new levels of depth, flexibility and creativity to all kinds of businesses.

Companies which have embraced the openness of social media have found online social communications are the #2 method of interaction, second only to physical real life conversations. That’s an encouraging finding, because it reveals the value people place in the quality of social network interactions, which means they are making more meaningful connections throughout the day.

Yet despite all the positives, the move to an open social utopia isn’t happening as quickly as perceived. IBM says that only 16 percent of all surveyed CEOs are currently using social media in the workplace. However, IBM expects that figure to hit 57 percent inside the next five years. So while initial adoption of social media may trickle in, a torrent of change is set to arrive in 2017. You can probably thank the cloud for some of that, too.

But perhaps the most interesting finding is that 71 percent of CEOs felt that “technology” — in the broadest sense of the term — would have the greatest impact on corporate industry and culture. By itself, that statement it isn’t too astounding, but, that same 71 percent also considered technology to have a bigger impact than global economic conditions. That’s good news, since it shows there is faith placed in the people behind technology and optimism about industry growth.

The impact of this new openness and communication technology clearly has the potential to affect industry beyond a company’s ledger. This kind of impact isn’t something that can be bought, sold or acquired. It’s literally wrought by the people who live in the socia

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  1. Sep 19 2012

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