The increasing use of social media is leading to the rise of the wirearchy, where even relatively junior people can be extraordinarily influential based on the shape and size of their online networks.
An organising principle identified by futurist Jon Husband, the wirearchy is putting a blowtorch on traditional leadership communications and engagement.
Social media creates greater transparency in a low-trust world and IC professionals can ill afford to keep writing sermons from the mount. People can spot a message that’s not genuine and will quickly dismiss it.
Smart IC professionals know we must strike a balance in enabling unfettered — and at times chaotic — conversations to take place around our organisations while coaching leaders in how to find and engage with the signal personally and with humility.
Yes, it’s likely to be a harder road to travel with leaders who prefer a command-and-control style of communications but IC will never address a trust deficit by perpetuating inauthentic leadership communications or by ignoring the voices of powerful influencers— no matter their job grade.
No ifs or buts
It should go without saying but in a digital world you need to be social. It doesn’t matter whether you’re starting out in your IC career or have been around for a little while — if you’re not being social it’s like you’re standing in the corner of a room at a party by yourself.
It’s impossible to encourage others to discover new ways of working if you haven’t experienced them. Experiment with different social channels and identify what’s will work for you, personally, professionally or both.
Next, nurture your networks, work out loud and be generous in sharing what you’ve learned in your IC career with others who may benefit from your experience.
Do it without expecting anything in return. Over time, I guarantee the social world will have a way of rewarding you for making this selfless contribution.
Rita Zonius is Head of Internal Digital Communications at ANZ
A version of this story originally appeared in the ebook: Disrupting the Function of IC – a Global Perspective