Leaders saying “no” to social media? It’s no longer their choice…

[tweetmeme] I’m going to dip into the past again (@petergold and @andyheadworth look away now!) and I know I have a PhD in hindsight but stay with me.

1988 (ish) – I’m sitting round a table having a conversation about buying PC’s and rolling them out in the business. The nay-sayers, (including the Head if IT!), are against it. Excuses include:

  • “They won’t be widely used in business.” (hahahahahahaha!)
  • “People will spend too much time on them and not doing ‘proper work’.”
  • “We cant see the value or the return.”
  • “I won’t use one.”

1990 (ish) – I’m sitting round the same table debating the roll out of email (internal only). It’s not going well. The nay-sayers have it again. Excuses include:

  • “It won’t be widely used in business.” (hahahahahahaha!)
  • “People will spend too much time on it and not doing ‘proper work’.”
  • “We cant see the value or the return.”
  • “I won’t use it.”

1997 (ish) – sitting round a different table debating ‘the internet’ and ‘websites’. Guess how it’s going?! Yep, you got it, a nay-sayers frenzy. Excuses include:

  • “It/They won’t be widely used in business.” (hahahahahahaha!)
  • “People will spend too much time on it/them and not doing ‘proper work’.”
  • “We cant see the value or the return.”
  • “I won’t use it/them.”

There is a pattern here. Can you spot it?

In almost every case the situaton was made worse by the fact that the very same nay-sayers – once they realised the folly of their ways and that being in the ‘last adopter’ group was perhaps not good for business – turned into over zealous evangelists, stomping about the organisation, kicking butt and taking names and telling people to do what most of them knew should have been done 2 years before.

Despite the well documented results of this procrastination – loss of competitive advantage, missed opportunities for market creation and expansion, missed opportunities to build and sustain relationships, to name but a few – I can see that the very same nay-sayers are out in force again, and social media is under the spotlight.

But this time it’s different. The nay-sayers will not have it their way.  For the first time in history it’s not actually up to them. You see, we are already connected. Already plugged in, switched on and ready to go. Participation is my choice, not theirs. I don’t need to wait for IT to issue me with a username, grant me access or ‘set me up’. I’m already there.  On my technology, my software.

So a word of advice for the nay-sayers.  Its time to be brave. Take the leap. Let the early adopters take the lead and take you along with them, for they know what they need to do.  Because if you don’t, when you wake up in 18 months time and realise that you got left behind, there will only be one butt left to kick.

Your own. 😉


  1. Hear bloody hear!
    This is so, so true. Being brave and accepting change is no longer going to be enough – organisations that want to win in their chosen field will need to EMBRACE change. The “we’ve always done it this way” brigade no longer hold value or say.
    And I say to those in business who have challenges in pushing for change – face up to the doubters, the blockers and barriers and keep going. If you do, YOU’LL be the ones leading the way at the front of your chosen industry in the future!


    1. Hi Andy. Absolutely. I’m amazed how many doubters there still are when you consider the overwhelming evidence that is now available. My examples are only the tip of the iceberg and from what I can see we have only just begun to scratch the surface of what is possible.

      Here’s to change and thanks for commenting!


  2. COMPLETELY AGREE! Great blog post Gareth… I like the last paragraph ‘It is time to be Brave’… Oh yes I belive it is!

    The early bird catches the worm as they say. The use of social media in recruitment is simply inevitable and I am glad to be playing a part in it!


    1. Hi Lucian! Thanks for the comment. Like you say, its inevitable but so many just don’t see it. Like many things, they mistrust instead of embracing the momentum. Which is incredible when you think how many times you hear the same people use the word innovation in every statement they make!

      Thanks for stopping by!


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