Charlene Li, founder of Altimeter Group, talks about what motivated her to write Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform The Way You Lead and shares advice for social media /web strategists in the job market.
Below is an extract of my one-hour interview with Li. To access the complete interview – and the many valuable insights Li offered – download the transcript.
Leaders can’t admit weakness without having strength and credibility
Alison Cummings: The fear of admitting failure is discussed quite a lot in the book. Did you get any direct responses from the leaders about why it’s so hard for them to show weakness and to acknowledge failure?
Charlene Li: Yes, I did. It’s a common perception that if I note that I am weak, or admit that I am wrong in a certain area, then I will be vulnerable to all the people who are out there trying to attack me. Both internally and externally.
The problem is, you can’t admit weakness without having strength, and that credibility. And if you admit weakness over and over and over again, and failures over and over again, without that credibility in the first place, then you cannot succeed. So it’s the context, again, of is that relationship strong enough to be able to carry you through. And, in many cases, that relationship just doesn’t exist. So, no, they don’t feel comfortable doing this because they don’t have that relationship in the first place. Because they are approaching leadership from very much a control point of view.
The fundamental reason people are still uncomfortable taking on social technologies has nothing to do with the technologies, and everything to do with the new type of relationship they have to form. – Charlene Li
Mad men, bad management
Alison: You may be one of the millions of people who watch Mad Men – or not – but Don Draper has said more than once, “If you don’t like the conversation, then change it.” And I think that point of view is still pretty common, but we are getting to the point where that attitude is definitely not going to work any more.
Charlene: No, no. You can’t control it. And this is the thing that I talk to people about over and over: You think you are in control and that by giving up control by engaging in these areas.
And I’m like, “Man, wrong mindset! You’re not in control. And they tell me, “What? But I’m the leader! I run this place. I own my customers!”
If I really want to blow up some doors, what I’ll do a little research beforehand. I’ll know who’s going to be in the room, I know their departments, and I will go into Glassdoor and find people talking very specifically about their company. And about them.
It’s rethinking a lot of the ways that we think about business. Which again, if you look at Mad Men, it’s like uck, remember those days? Well, we’re really not that far from those days. Really not that far. – Charlene Li
On the job market? Interview questions Charlene Li would ask
Want to know what questions Charlene Li would ask in a job interview to determine the degree of a company’s Open Leadership? Charlene’s view of the next hot jobs in the social media market? If you are a social media specialist or a generalist – and what that says about your interests and abilities? Access to these insights would normally cost a lot of money. All you have to do is download my interview with Charlene Li.
And finally, find out her secret
The Altimeter Group founder shares her secret. Download the complete Charlene Li interview to learn the single resource Charlene Li uses to keep current on social media trends and technologies.