Why Executives do not adopt social media? “They don’t type fast.”

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

A comment from the recent on-line discussion regarding the adoption of Social Media by the enterprise. The Peter Principle prevails in that we get promoted because we work hard to learn and to apply new things, but when we get to the top of the totem pole, we tend to act as barriers to others doing the same. Being human is a hilarious endeavor. If you care who said this, I’ll tell you (ibmchris@mac.com). 16 Feb update: Martha Johnson, boss of the General Services Administration. Brilliantly honest.

” Many agree here that having leaders involved in social technologies is important — but spotty. I have watched leaders tiptoe towards social technologies and have formed some opinions on what/why they are slow adopters. First, they don’t type fast. I kid you not. Second, they aren’t used to spontaneous conversation. They are conditioned to the leadership effect — meaning, small comments can make a big difference. So, they are careful. Which is hard to manage in the scrum of social media conversation. Third, time. Frankly, I don’t have a life, I have a schedule. That’s what top line leadership has to cope with. It makes every half hour on a site or sending messages very very precious. Fourth, they don’t quite recognize the answer to the question “why bother?” Leaders became leaders because they did things and exhibited various behaviors. It’s hard to believe in your soul that you should leave those behaviors and adopt new ones, especially when the old behaviors were so obviously rewarded. Five, sheepishness. Learning new things requires a little goofiness, awkwardness, practice, tutoring. How does that fit the image of powerful, decisive, responsible….

So, we need strategies for getting leaders through the knot hole — since we can’t wait until we all cycle through to retirement.”