Who in an organization should be a catalyst for a implementing a mind shift to get companies engaged in social media? Who should take on the risky role of being a change agent to advocate the new rules of engagement?
While I think anybody from a Public Relations intern all the way up to the CEO can take on this role, a particularly influential person to push companies forward is a non-executive director.
I've been delivering a bunch of talks in Australia over the past week. I was invited by PwC Australia to lead a discussion with their Non Executive Director (NED) community on the implications of social media for companies. In three separate meetings - Sydney, Brisbane & Melbourne - the NEDs were very engaged.
A NED is someone who sits on a board of directors but is not an employee of the company. Outside directors have a responsibility to ask the difficult questions and push the executive team on uncomfortable issues. I know. I've sat on two boards of directors: NewsWatch (sold to Yahoo Japan) and Kadient (merged with Sant).
Social media questions at the Board level
When an outside director asks: "What’s the company's social media policy?" the management team listens.
If a Director asks: "Does the company block access to Facebook and Twitter?" the question is taken seriously.