Norman Ng

Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’

Social Media Leadership – X Factors (Part 1)

In Leadership, Social Media on October 4, 2011 at 10:44

“The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday”, motto of the US Navy SEALs, best sums up the challenges that enterprises face in today’s evolving communications landscape. With unprecedented access to troves of information, and the modes of engagement, enterprise stakeholders and their employees are increasingly (mis)informed; (dis)engaged and (dis)connected. Social media has presented risky branding / PR challenges, yet presents immense opportunities to strengthen brand equity and stakeholder engagement.

This series of articles on Leadership Strategies & Evolving Communications seeks to address one complex fundamental – Leadership. On how it can remain relevant, on how it needs to reinvent and adapt to a shifting communication landscape, to be able to continually invoke and exert social influence, inspiring people to contribute / commit in extra-ordinary situations. These articles seek to explore the traits of a Social Media Leader, and hopes to inspire leadership for tomorrow’s communication challenges. 


This first two X Factors will focus on a situational based leadership, in good times and bad times. The next series will focus on leadership & relationships. Here it goes:

X Factor 1 – Leadership in Adversity 

A true leader is one who shines during adversity, and lets others assume the limelight in good times. In a crisis, this leader will stand up at the front and say, “I take full accountability, responsibility for the current state of affairs, intended or not….as a leader…I LEAD from the front..” The leader will take responsibility, take action, and express humility – In that order. The buck stops here.

In the rise of corporations, we have been seeing all too many impersonal communications, especially in crisis events.  “It is our policy not to comment not speculate on unverified rumours”, as textbook corporate lingo would put it. But these enterprises might want to think otherwise, since 90% of people trust peer recommendations.  Certainly, quite impossible to respond to all claims especially with the volumes from social media platforms, which may be expressly exaggerated, but nevertheless, be prepared to be at the front in the most dire situations. Not so much for public lynching, but to rally your organisation, inspire leadership that you are prepared to make this happen.

X Factor 2 – Leadership in Positive Organisational Climate

A good leader gives space to his rank and files to take credit when it’s due, and gives them their shining spotlight moments. Its tempting for leaders to leverage on the almighty networking prowess of social media to convey their messages, values and statements in person. But it’s a great opportunity to take it a few notches higher in the same spirit, letting stakeholders and audiences know more about your brand / organisation, through the faces and people behind the scenes. It’s more compelling, and its expresses humility of a good leader who lets his people board the bullet train forward.

Common in this two situations are that intimate communications, having a person in the loop is essential, despite the onset of social media. It’s convenient to convey a message in 140 characters via tweets, but it can never replace the emotional and direct engagements trough personal leadership in communications. So its important that in the faced paced communications landscape, enterprises do not lose their souls through impersonal communications. “If you’re a leader….Lead”



Turning a PR Crisis to Your Advantage

In Crisis Communications, Public Relations on September 14, 2011 at 22:15

David Conner, CEO, OCBC. Photo: Bloomberg

It’s a war, everytime a PR crisis strikes, we’re scrambling on a loss minimization mode on the enterprise’s reputation. But one company seemed to successfully turned a catastrophic incident to strengthen positive portrayals.

That company refers to OCBC, Singapore’s 2nd largest lender which deployed a full scale media outreach campaign to inform stakeholders on a 4 hour glitch on its systems, causing massive service disruptions.

I particularly like the fact that mass SMSes were sent out with messages from David Conner, CEO of OCBC, stating “Many customers were inconvenienced, for which I sincerely apologise. At the same time, many of our customers were patient and understanding, for which I am deeply grateful”. This is where good leadership and responsive communications plays a role to arrest reputation downside risks in such a crisis. Something which I mentioned enterprises ought to have, such as in the SMRT Crisis in previous posts, and hot on the heels of similar glitches by the DBS.

This incident exudes control, sincerity and professionalism on OCBC. It’s heartening to know that they even enlisted the media  to broadcast messages on the glitches. So instead of the media lynching them, they leveraged on them as partners instead of adversaries.

All in all, a positive case study, turning adversity into good opportunity. Kudos to OCBC.

%d bloggers like this: