Do “Bosses” Know What They Are Asking For?

by Jay Deragon on 02/20/2011

The term “Boss” implies authority, power and control over people who do the things the boss wants done. In a tight job market people are thrilled to be hired to do a job. In a growing job market people are chased to do a job based on their experience, education and specialty skills.

Job openings with the titles of Social Strategist, Social Media Manager, Community Manager, Social Technologist and all other things “social” has exploded in the last two years and continues to grow. With more and more brands and agencies figuring it is time to “take on” all this social stuff the demand for talent to execute “all this social stuff” is increasing. At the same time the “pool” of talent has limited supply of people who have the relevant knowledge and experience to truly understand “all things social”.

Do “Bosses” Know What They Are Asking For?

Chasing “all things social” without relevant knowledge does not insure that the chase is aimed at the right things or the right people. If the Boss wants all things social do they really know what they are asking for? Unless they understand the strategic implications of “all things social” and what their intent is in using all things social then hiring people to do all things social isn’t going to insure the accomplishment of relevant objectives that enhance business performance.

Asking for something you don’t understand and thinking you can find people who understand to deliver you something you don’t understand is a set up to failure. Failing is an expensive attempt at something you think you need but don’t understand what the need is or how to fulfill it. Bosses who fail to first understand will have a difficult time being understood by the people they hire who they think understand.

If you don’t first understand social then how can you be assured that you are hiring people who proclaim they do. Most people who proclaim they understand social are saying so in context of using social. There are a lot of people who know how to use social but few who really know how to help an entire organization become social.

Using social will pass because people are becoming tired of being used. Social will pass from using to being and subsequently the market will follow the few who get being and do so with an intent to better serve the buyer. Serving buyers has been and will always be the right thing that drives business results.

Hiring people with a “social something” title isn’t the secret sauce that makes your organizational social. Only those with authority, power and control over people can make the changes required for the entire organization to be social. Subsequently using social to reflect your intent becomes everyone’s natural and never-ending job. Delegating that responsibility to someone you hire with a “social” title but who does not have authority, power and control over the organizations intent is a waste of money. Worse yet it will backfire on you because while they will use social for your intents but the marketplace will soon discover that your intent is not to be social. There is a big difference and it is transparent.

Before hiring people to use social bosses need to learn what it means to be social. That requires a totally different knowledge and skills set than just using social.

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