Groundswell: Winning In A World Transformed By Social Technologies, by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, is the proverbial gift that keeps on giving.
This book is a gift of timely and practical knowledge about the value of our participation in the social media phenomenon – from a business perspective. The Groundswell gift comes wrapped in a bow cut from the sophisticated fabric of Forrester’s finely woven research experience.
While there is much to say about Groundswell and its astounding greatness (more in future posts), I’d like to immediately call out one side benefit – for professionals who leverage the groundswell – that was subtly mentioned in the book…a benefit that I believe will have a very strong appeal to the book’s core readership – marketers and communicators:
Getting that coveted “seat at the table” in your organization
It’s been my experience and that of many of my professional colleagues that the hardest part of our job is educating upper-level management and getting buy in. The ultimate and ever-elusive brass ring, of course, is empowerment. These sentiments, which erupt regularly in the blogosphere, were also echoed earlier this year during a Forrester Research and Heidrick & Struggles co-sponsored webcast based on “The Evolved CMO“ research report. According to the report’s executive summary:
“Marketers want to be more business-focused and strategic in their roles.”
“…almost two-thirds of chief marketing officers want more involvement in business strategy development and increased P&L responsibility.”
In turn, these summary statements were underscored by the many comments from webcast attendees:
“CMO and CIO relationship is critical…”
“Alliance with CFO is key to build and execute on strong corporate strategy.”
“I heard somewhere that the average tenure for a corporate-level CMO is 24 months…why would that be?”
“CMOs are often seen as company doctors to bring about immediate change which – however – is a joint effort of the management board.”
“So many other C-suites see Marketing as only advertising and their feedback is based on font or background color of an ad rather than understanding the strategic importance of Marketing.”
“What can be done to increase CMO profile on the Board?”
“Marketing is an investment and not a cost!”
In the end, the report prophetically summarized: “CMOs have a great opportunity to transform their marketing team from order takers to collaborators, partnering with business units to drive the bottom line.”
And now – months later – as I was reading Groundswell, my eyes became wide when I saw this:
“Own the resource <for tapping into the groundswell> that generates the insights, and you have clout.”
So, how do you gain that clout in your organization? You guessed it. Buy the book and you’ll find out.
A FUN ASIDE: I really love the title of the book, too. Made me think: If you were on a flat wooden raft in the open seas and a groundswell began, how would you protect yourself from falling?
Would you give in to the movement, flexing your knees and absorbing the shock and the motion in synchronicity…? Or would you keep your knees rigid and straight (ouch, that could be painful!) in show of defiance and strength? For me, the answer is the former, with the operative word being “flex.”
Finally, if you knew you were going to fall regardless of your stance, which way would you choose? Again I would choose the former, because the distance to the ground is shorter and the chances of breaking a bone would be fewer. ;0)
Here’s to getting our social-sphere sea dogs, folks!
: : : : : : : : : : :