Social Leadership, Strategy & Management

by Jay Deragon on 09/15/2010

Many people are calling themselves “social media strategist” because they think they understand the use of all things social. The reality is that while “all things social” play into a strategy. By itself social is not a strategy rather it is simply a new methodology for communications.

All organizations have a strategy whether defined or not. The problem with undefined strategies is a lack of organized efforts aimed at accomplishing a vision. A vision without a strategy is the lack of assurance that the organizations collective efforts will accomplish anything near a stated vision. Strategy is a road map for accomplishing a vision.

Where Does the Vision Come From?

A good leader  sees the future and envisions innovative  products and services to create the future. Creating a future is about leading your market by the influence of new value resulting from innovative products and services you bring to market. Vision is the job of leadership. Ever heard the expression “without vision the people will perish”?  The same principal applies to organizations. Without vision the organization will perish. Good leaders are gifted at seeing the future and motivating people to create the future before others do.

Where Does the Strategy Come From?

Building a sound strategy starts with verifying and shaping the leaders’ vision and determines whether the market will respond to the vision and will it create new revenue. If yes then a good strategist creates the road map for management to execute towards accomplishing the vision.  While many organizations have internal strategist most turn to the outside for strategy development. The reason most turn to outside resources to develop the strategy is because outside resources are not constrained by internal politics, influences and cultures. A qualified strategist has resources disciplined at market research, mind mapping and strategic design to create an organizational road map aimed at reaching a vision or goal.

The internet has become a tremendous tool for strategist to gather, analyze, synthesize and strategical assess knowledge effectively and efficiently. The proliferation of “tools” to gather market intelligence and measure market sentiment about anything and anyone has significantly added to the “strategic tool box” for those who understand how to use the tools effectively. Social technology has created significant impact on strategic assessment and development because of the proliferation of real-time information relevant to any market and future predictions about any market. Knowing how to use these “tools” to create relevant meaning from all the information is fundamentally the discipline of a strategist.

Self proclaimed “social media strategist” do not have the strategic disciple, background, knowledge inventory or skill set to gather, analyze, synthesize and strategical assess information effectively and efficiently. The “social gurus” primary discipline is in using social media to create and share information which  is not a strategy rather it is simply propagating communications.

Where Does Management Fit In?

Management is about organizing and executing resources towards an aim efficiently and effectively. Much different that strategy. Management doesn’t decide on the vision rather they execute the strategic road map to accomplish a vision set by leadership. However, unless management comprehends the vision and the road map they become the barrier to execution. Without effective execution the vision will not be reached.

There are three distinctive roles and responsibilities for an organization to succeed. When the roles and responsibilities are not understood and kept in place then you create chaos, politics and power struggles. All of which will destroy an organization.

Social technology fuels new visions for leaders who can comprehend future implications.  To gain this comprehension leaders must listen and understand the changing dynamics caused by all things social. Listening and understand doesn’t require usage instead it requires comprehension of changing market dynamics.

Social technology enables innovative strategic developments.   Given the influence and reach factors enabled by the technology strategies can move faster and turn markets at the click of a mouse. That is if they are designed accordingly.

Social technology empowers people to get things done. People  get things done if  they are empowered to do so. However most people are  stuck in bureaucratic management processes established to manage people when the world wasn’t so connected and open for business.

Management is the last leg of executing a strategy aimed at a vision. Management is also the “broken leg” of execution in many organizations. Speed to market is now real-time and anything that slows down your speed is a threat to leading a market. Great leaders with superb strategies will fail unless management changes its nature, role and value it adds to the people who execute. The people inside who have all the relationships with the buyers outside.

Last but certainly not least, a strategy not grounded in the right beliefs is useless. We will cover beliefs and why the internet is forcing a change in beliefs next week.


consulting cafe August 9, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Insightful read.

Nariman November 12, 2010 at 7:50 am

I thing “Leaders are people who do the right thing; managers are people who do things right.”
was said by Warren G. Bennis not by Peter Drucker

[email protected] Blog September 21, 2010 at 3:31 pm

That Peter Drucker quote says it all really. There is also a metaphor about managers being the men holding machete’s, cutting a path through a forest. A leader then climbs up a tree and shouts “Great cutting guys, but you’re going the wrong way!”

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