The Management / Employee / Customer Gap

Bruno Aziza is perhaps one of my favorite authors. His topics, books and articles are always spot on with great examples and usually from a perspective that you wouldn’t have initially thought of. In one of his articles, Creating A Social Media Strategy he addresses the issue of the gap between management, employees and customers. Here are a few of my favorite points that he made, along with my own comments:

Before selling an idea or product (any widget, or strategy for example), you must engage your customers, listen to what they have to say and gain their trust.”

Companies often forget that without customers, there is no reason for them to be in business and without employees there is no way for them to do the work. Trust is earned and the result of a company following through on its word. Notice I said word, not promise. If people can’t trust your word, then simply put they cannot trust you or your company. Being able to trust a company or person’s word is far more powerful than putting trust in a promise.

Patriots President Jonathan Kraft observes here that since adding social media, "It's as if fans don't think of themselves as fans anymore—they think they are the owners of the team." Imagine that fans, filled with ambitions that usually belong to the owners, might start brainstorming revenue-generating ideas. Executives, who can observe these conversations through social media, may end up using them to redefine their strategy.

The same logic applies to any executive who effectively engages his employees and allows them to drive the company forward with new ideas.”

How many times do you hear that the best ideas do not come from top management? When you have a culture that engages your employees, innovation and creativity bounce off the walls and then your challenge becomes harnessing and leveraging those ideas. That’s a great challenge to have.

Social media breaks down the artificial layers and barriers between executives and the rest of their employees.”

Social media breaks down artificial layers and barriers between a company and its customers as well. It’s not that customers and employees “now” have an opinion about things, it’s that “now” we have the means to communicate them in a way that it can’t be ignored.

Approachability here implies that executives are open to suggestions, big or small, outside or inside the standard processes a company might have set up.”

I vote we re-write the definition of corporate approachability to be this!
Tom Capizzi Jr.: Handcuffed to the Front Door
Steve Klein: Is Your Business Really Different?