I wonder if I actually remember the time before Covid19, things have changed so much?
As leaders we have been through what's called a "learning curve". 12 months ago I had never heard of the word "furlough", our accountant has spent most of the year working on furlough claims for his clients.
We have a vaccine but nobody knows how long it will last for and in the UK it will only be rolled out to the over 50s.
I was talking to a business leader yesterday and they said "it will never go back to the way it was before", and I agree. There is research from Accenture that states that people don't want to go back to having face-to-face meetings with salespeople. A CEO said to me recently that a salesperson had said to him that he "couldn't sell unless he was face-to-face with a client". Things have changed so much, but will they go back?
What Do Business Leaders Need to Do to Disrupt?
Talking to a CEO today his view was that the way we do business, has and must fundamentally change.
His view was that a business needs to be seen as "trustworthy", the consumer, B2B and B2C is fickle and will change.
Trust, while has an element of brand, this is about the people. Can you trust the CEO, the Board of Directors, the sales people?
With more people being on social media, than not on social media (see research here) you have to have the CEO, the Board of Directors (the C-Suite) the sales people, in fact the whole of the company on social media. You take the company culture and you put it on social.
So many companies ay to us "our USP (unique selling point) is the culture" or a candidate has to have a "culture fit". Then put your culture on social, be transparent. This is the way, you will get the best people, make the most sales and have the most efficient supply chain. More on these in a moment.
Ethical leadership should be your norm.
This isn't something that "happens" there is a change program driven from the top down, with the leaders leading. There has to be a methodology that people follow. Social becomes a strategy, not a tactic.
Trust dovetails into Purpose, with the employees on social, they are empowered to share their experiences, their beliefs, their values.
For example, Human Resources (HR) could share an article about the importance of Diversity within the business. This is shared through that person's network. Remember, this is not a corporate message this is shared by the employee, through a network that knows, likes and trusts that person. That network will amplify it. Keep doing this and you will become the employer of choice in your industry.
In Purchasing you could share an article about the importance of sustainability for your suppliers. Again, this is putting out a message in the market that offers trust and purpose. Shared through the employees network, people who know, like and trust. Before you know it, you will have suppliers that meet that sustainability criteria.
In the old days you might have used PR (Public Relations) or adverts to do this, nobody reads press releases and nobody looks at adverts, the modern world is digital. Let's go where your employees, prospective customers, customers and future employees are ... on social.
Boards still need to have skills such as compliance, regulation, they also need to understand intergenerational differences.
I often ask people if they have ordered a Uber. Uber is such a great metaphor for the digital experience. Last year in San Francisco we went everywhere by Uber, it is such a frictionless way to do business. We travelled to Vancouver. It was raining, we were told to stand in a taxi queue, there were no taxis. Really?
The Board is going to have to get used to "network management" no longer can you open the door of your office and check to see who are at their desks. If you had 3 offices with 1,000 people in each, now you have 3,000 offices.
This has a massive employee welfare and mental health position. We know from research that employees feel neglected, so how do management open new lines of communication? How does you get remote workers, infused, engaged and effective? Through social.
Social will provide the mechanism for communication, connection and collaboration.
Social media is no longer a destination, it's where we live, this is one of the impacts that covid 19 has made on us. We are used to living at home and buying "everything" through the internet.
Again, check out this research.
We spend our lives in social, we communicate through social, it's where we are and it's where our customers are.
In fact our employee expect us to have cultural interplay of social. Sharing, creating, collaborating, sharing with each other.
Here at DLA Ignite we have realised that Zoom and Teams are not fit for purpose for what we want to do in terms of delivering an interactive online experience for clients. The DLA Ignite team have collaborated across the globe and found meetbutter within a day we are having a meeting with the CEO, Jakob. This is a team empowered to make a change, empowered to collaborate, Meetbutter might not be the answer, but it's great watching the team come to the decision.
This is empowered decision making.
Trust in Sales
Gone are the days were sales was about manipulation.
For starters there is legislation, for example the 2018 introduced GDPR replications in Europe, or the technology has put an end to endless cold calls. I have the Apple iOS 13 functionality installed that drives all cold calls to my voicemail.
But let's take a step back, has an advert, spam email, cold call, brochure ever sold anything? No. What sells something is a conversation.
Social allows your salesforce to create conversations.
Not in a way where you spam people with sales pitches on social, that is just a cold call on a social network. But connecting to people, know me, like me, trust me.
Sales people are about inspiring, educating, sharing their purpose, culture. We know we have a modern empowered buyer, who is on social media, so let's go out and find them and tell them something they don't know.
Let's start a conversation.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Just give me, or one of the DLA Ignite team and hour of your time and we can walk you through what we are doing for other companies. No hard sell, just take you through what other companies are doing to transform.
If you want to start a conversation with me, you can find me here
Imagine you are a CEO making the difficult decision to furlough frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the decision weighs heavily on you, you know that furloughs are preferable to layoffs. Yet when you make the announcement, you face a withering, deeply personal Twitterstorm: customers and even employees ridicule you with your own interview quotes about the “importance of community,” and how “our people are our purpose.” Under pressure, you reverse the decision, but the damage to your reputation proves irreparable.