In cooperation with the project’s advisory board, the EIU identified a set of qualities that define social business leaders working inside organisations around the world. These qualities became guideposts that the advisory board used to assess nominees to the list and select the 25 individuals who the EIU would profile. Below are the leadership qualities:
Social business leaders have a view on the future. They create small, flat and nimble teams so ideas can be swiftly shared and the best can be implemented. They enable collaboration internally and with external parties, creating strong ongoing relationships and empowering and winning buy-in from colleagues, both from the top down and bottom up. They move their organisation—and even industry—forward.
Social business leaders implement appropriate social technologies, policies and governance across their organisations.They speak both “tech” and “business”—and know how to pick and choose from the steady stream of hot new trends to design a digital ecosystem that adds business value. They protect their company from the dangers of over-sharing, such as privacy violations and intellectual-property leaks. They establish common measures of success, so that everyone speaks the same language and drives in the same direction. And they use data to gain actionable insights and improve experiences and outcomes.
Social business leaders connect individuals and facilitate the sharing of knowledge and ideas across their company, based on a social vision for the whole organisation. They identify functional areas that would benefit from social technologies, processes and principles—and inspire all employees to work in ways that are collaborative, transparent and that reinforce mutual trust.
Social business leaders provide an authentic voice for their organisation underpinned by an understanding that authenticity, transparency and customer trust are key to fostering two-way communication, loyalty and, ultimately, sales. Their actions fuel engagement and have a clear business impact, and their communications match and strengthen their own and their company’s brand.
Adaptive, open, entrepreneurial and fully social
Social business leaders tend to have an entrepreneurial approach to work processes. They embrace technology and see it as a tool to bring people together. They are self-assured individuals who are open to exploring both what they know and what they do not. They are fascinated by people and what moves them and seek opportunities for collaboration and relationship-building. And they are unafraid to fail because they see failure is a form of feedback that provides opportunities to innovate and grow.