Wednesday, August 4, 2010

How to Get to the Corner Office

Randy Schrum speaks his mind about social media on MyCorporateMedia. He's a CEO who wants to confess, really explain how blogging, twittering and status updating plays out in the corner office, the boardroom and in the market.

The essence of social media activity is social-- and that's the problem. He says:

"The premise and value of the "social media" movement is the power of the collective in the production, distribution, and ownership of goods, and the reasons executives resist this model is that it flies in the face of their existing worldview which, quite frankly, has been pretty successful to date. . . . Most of us have a pretty big chip on our shoulders, attributing our career success to the years of diligence, education, ambition, delayed gratification and sacrifices we've made to reach the leadership levels we've achieved. Therefore, the anti-capitalistic notion that my work and contributions would be homogenized with the uninspired masses, and that ultimately my value would be determined by the randomness of the collective is a jarring and unplatable departure."

Schrum offers an interesting insight into the psyche of executives. The term "executive" isn't so much a title as a mindset that manifests in childhood. People with executive tendencies spent high school taking AP classes, and working a couple of part time jobs. They spend their college years running student organizations, doing internships and taking an overload of classes to finish early. Executives are compulsive high achievers but they tend to shrink from public recognition of their achievements. Schrum notes that "executives are non-narcissistic in a You-Tube world." "In a society that brags, blogs and Tweets about the tiniest personal minutia, [executives] couldn't care less because, frankly we expect success. . . . It's like Vince Lombardi's admonition to his running back after an overly exuberant display. "Next time you make a touchdown, act like you've been there before."

Executives hate social networking because they hate "networking." They dread the roomful of strangers, the awkward chit chat, never enough food. Executives are introverts who value their privacy and consider the ROI (return on investment) for each moment of time.

Schrum's rant puts a name to a reaction I've observed in myself. I'm not so sure that social networking is or can be a business tool, or that the act of sharing half-baked ideas should substitute for the hard and lonely work of baking them.

1 comment:

andy said...


What a treasure these past 90your blog has been for me these past 90 minutes or so.

I found your site because I was looking for a tuitorial on CDOs. I found it - and was a bit disappointed that it was actually a voice-over cartoon. I was looking for something with a bit more depth. Actually I found something thaat might have met my needs, except that if I was interested in getting beyond the title page, I was required to sign up for Facebook.


I've resisted that offer many times before and can't imagine any set of circumstances that would entice me to change my orientation.

Of course I have to admit that I'm pleased that most (all?) of our daughters (we have eight - ages 50 to 27) have participated in this social phenonmenon. We spent a pleasant two days in the company of some former neighbors as a consequence of Terri, (ours), discovering that Julie, (theirs), had a facebook page and was going to visit relatives in Raleigh, NC, where Terri lives. That led to a meeting with Julie, her friend, and Marge, our former neighbor. Before we parted we made plans to meet again since we discovered that we would both be spending time at Myrtle Beach, SC a few months later.

Sorry for the diversion...

To the reason for my comment -

Your description of Randy Schrum's comments about social media struck me as conforming almost precisely to my perspective on the issue - except that the excerpts you selected were much more insightful than any that I might have written even after devoting some considerable thought to the matter. Mr Schrum's description of how execs spend their high school and college years matched almost precisely ("four corners") how I proceeded through that time of my life. And his discussion of tweeting and messaging re: the incidents of daily life reminded me of my response to my brother-in-law's current wife request to put me on her list of tweeters - so that "we could share what we were doing and feeling at various times of the day". I said "Why would I want to do that?" End of request.

Back to the purpose of this comment...

I clicked on the icon for Mr Schrum's blog. Guess what happened? Don't bother. Here's what I saw about three seconds after the page appeared on my screen - "Receive our Social Media FAST Start Package. Loaded with great content to get your started generating results for your business"

Is there no escape?

Angelo R DeGiralamo
*Married - To the love of my life for 51 years.
*Retired, since 1993
*Born on the day they officially opened the Golden Gate Bridge.
*A new subscriber