Do Leaders Walk Or Talk The Talk?

by Jay Deragon on 08/14/2009

McKinsey’s  recent article titled Leadership Lessons For Hard Times states:  We interviewed the leaders of 14 major companies  all seasoned CEOs or chairmen, asking them to reflect on what they felt they had learned.

What emerges from the interviews is agreement on some broad principles that can help guide behavior in the executive suite and the boardroom, as well as interactions with employees, customers, and investors.

The lessons from the interviews in summary are below:

  1. Confront reality: Always question whether the “halo effect” of a business or business situation is blinding you to what lies on the horizon.—Herbert Henkel, chairman and CEO of Ingersoll Rand
  2. At board meetings, put strategy center stage: The board has been heavily involved in strategy formulation with me, and we have a better strategy because of it.—Bill Nuti, chairman and CEO of NCR
  3. Be transparent with employees . . .The only way to address uncertainty is to communicate and communicate. And when you think you’ve just about got to everybody, then communicate some more.—Terry Lundgren, chairman, president, and CEO of Macy’s
  4. . . . and investors: Our policy is: “If in doubt, communicate.” We always want to conduct our business with integrity and forthrightness.—Ron Sugar, chairman and CEO of Northrop Grumman
  5. Build and protect the culture: Stay focused on culture, people, and values: it’s the area most likely to get compromised in this environment.—Eric Foss, chairman and CEO of Pepsi Bottling Group
  6. Keep faith with the future: If you don’t invest in the future and don’t plan for the future, there won’t be one.—George Buckley, chairman, president, and CEO of 3M

Do They Walk The Talk?

Notice the responses from the interviews McKinsey conducted were focused on communications, people and strategy. While the leaders of these companies emphasized common elements required of leadership during hard times one must ask do they walk or talk the talk?

UberCEO recently did a study with the headline “It’s Official: Fortune 100 CEOs Are Social Media Slackers.” It goes on to analyze the social-media habits of CEOs at large companies and concluded, shockingly, that they don’t use social media much. The study states:

We’re surprised, but not shocked, to find that the top CEOs in the country appear to be mostly absent from the social media community.  That’s the result from research we conducted over the past several weeks.  We looked at Fortune’s 2009 list of the top 100 CEOs to determine how many were using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, or had a blog.  The results show a miserable level of engagement.  Here are the topline results:

  • Only two CEOs have Twitter accounts.
  • 13 CEOs have LinkedIn profiles, and of those only three have more than 10 connections.
  • 81% of CEOs don’t have a personal Facebook page.
  • Three quarters of the CEOs have some kind of Wikipedia entry, but nearly a third of those have limited or outdated information.
  • Not one Fortune 100 CEO has a blog.

The full results of the research can be accessed and downloaded by clicking the image below.  And yes, we name names as to who is doing well, and who is screwing it up. See full study results here

Now consider the contrast between what leaders said in the McKinsey interviews and what the OberCEO study shows relative to use of social media.  There are arguments everywhere as to whether CEO’s should engage in social media.  It is ironic to see the “Lessons From Leaders” put so much emphasis on communications, people and strategy. Isn’t social media all about communications, people and can’t it be used strategically? Just maybe I am or they are missing something.

What say you? Walking or talking the talk?

{ 31 comments }

Bob Rinderle January 7, 2010 at 11:43 am

RT @The_Social_CEO: Of the Fortune Top 100 CEOs only two have Twitter accts, 13 on LinkedIn & none have a blog! http://ow.ly/mAJg Socia …

Inga Beck January 2, 2010 at 10:10 pm

RT @The_Social_CEO: Of the Fortune Top 100 CEOs only two have Twitter accts, 13 on LinkedIn & none have a blog! http://ow.ly/mAJg Socia …

The Social CEO January 2, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Of the Fortune Top 100 CEOs only two have Twitter accts, 13 on LinkedIn & none have a blog! http://ow.ly/mAJg Social Media stimulus needed!

Jeff Ashcroft September 16, 2009 at 9:35 pm

Of the Fortune Top 100 CEOs only two have Twitter accounts, 13 on LinkedIn & none have a blog! http://ow.ly/mAJg

JeffAshcroft (Jeff Ashcroft) September 16, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Twitter Comment


Of the Fortune Top 100 CEOs only two have Twitter accounts, 13 on LinkedIn & none have a blog! [link to post]

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Jared Larsen September 3, 2009 at 2:09 pm

RT @The_Social_CEOOf the Fortune Top 100 CEOs only two have Twitter accounts, 13 on LinkedIn & none have a blog! http://ow.ly/mAJg

C-Level Social August 31, 2009 at 7:17 pm

RT @The_Social_CEO Of the Fortune Top 100 CEOs only two have Twitter accounts, 13 on LinkedIn & none have a blog! http://ow.ly/mAJg

Cheryl Berklich August 31, 2009 at 3:05 pm

RT @JeffAshcroft: [email protected]_Social_CEO Of the Fortune 100 CEOs only 2 hav Twitter accounts, 13 on LinkedIn & none r blogging! http://ow.ly/mAJg

MRJunction August 29, 2009 at 11:51 am

RT @davidiangray RT @JeffAshcroft: @The_Social_CEO Fortune 100 CEOs 2 have Twitter accts, 13 LinkedIn & none have a blog! http://ow.ly/mAJg

MRJunction (MRJunction) August 29, 2009 at 12:36 pm

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RT @davidiangray RT @JeffAshcroft: @The_Social_CEO Fortune 100 CEOs 2 have Twitter accts, 13 LinkedIn & none have a blog! [link to post]

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Sindicate CEO August 29, 2009 at 4:26 am

RT @The_Social_CEO Of the Fortune Top 100 CEOs only 2 have Twitter accts, 13 LinkedIn & none have a blog! http://ow.ly/mAJg Hmmmm

sindicatelv (Sindicate CEO) August 29, 2009 at 4:28 am

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RT @The_Social_CEO Of the Fortune Top 100 CEOs only 2 have Twitter accts, 13 LinkedIn & none have a blog! [link to post] Hmmmm

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David Ian Gray August 28, 2009 at 7:59 pm

RT @JeffAshcroft: @The_Social_CEO Fortune Top 100 CEOs only two have Twitter accounts, 13 on LinkedIn & none have a blog! http://ow.ly/mAJg

JeffAshcroft (Jeff Ashcroft) August 28, 2009 at 8:33 pm

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RT @The_Social_CEO Of the Fortune Top 100 CEOs only two have Twitter accounts, 13 on LinkedIn & none have a blog! [link to post]

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davidiangray (David Ian Gray) August 28, 2009 at 8:01 pm

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RT @JeffAshcroft: @The_Social_CEO Fortune Top 100 CEOs only two have Twitter accounts, 13 on LinkedIn & none have a blog! [link to post]

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JeffAshcroft (Jeff Ashcroft) August 28, 2009 at 9:42 pm

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@davidiangray Thanks for the RT David! Follow Friday @davidiangray #TILF

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KarinaSilva (KarinaSilva) August 23, 2009 at 6:34 am

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Do Leaders Walk Or Talk The Talk? | The Relationship Economy – [link to post] (via @schmediachick)

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schmediachick (Denise Tung) August 23, 2009 at 8:38 am

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@KarinaSilva A good one to share with the Exec team! 🙂

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schmediachick (Denise Tung) August 23, 2009 at 12:24 am

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Effective leadership in a relationship economy – commitment to staff & clients means embracing social media [link to post]

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Nikhil Vaswani August 17, 2009 at 11:34 am

I guess the current breed of CEOs are not very comfortable using Social Media because its a relatively new phenomenon. However, the next generation of leaders will be expected to use tools like LinkedIn, Twitter etc. to the maximum.

By the way, if anyone looking to make the most of their LinkedIn account, check out networking expert Jan Vermeiren’s new book “How to REALLY use LinkedIn”. You can find a free lite version at http://www.how-to-really-use-linkedin.com/

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Do Leaders Walk Or Talk The Talk? | The Relationship Economy……: Confront reality: Always question whether th.. [link to post]

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Daily Deragon Dose: Do Leaders Walk Or Talk The Talk? [link to post]

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Do Leaders Walk Or Talk The Talk? | The Relationship Economy……: Now consider the contrast between what leade.. [link to post]

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gacconsultants (Mark Harai) August 14, 2009 at 7:56 am

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RT @JDeragon Do Leaders Walk Or Talk The Talk? | The Relationship Economy…… [link to post]

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