SXSW 2010: Charlene Li: “Open Leadership and the upside of giving up control”

Meet Charlene Li, co-author of the Groundswell, a ‘must-read’ in Social Media. Li is close to publishing her latest book ‘Open Leadership’. SXSW has given her a stage to explain what it’s all about. The room is packed. With reason, because who didn’t get inspired by Groundswell.

In Open Leadership Li elaborates further on Social Media and how to use this as a professional organization. “The world around us has changed dramatically in only a few years time. Changed in the way we are sharing knowledge, experiences and emotions, online. It has influenced the way we communicate and collaborate with each other, and that is having a major influence in the way we build our relationships.”

However, only a handful of companies and other organizations embrace this change. Because ‘social’ within organizations seems to be hard. Why? Because it implies that you’ll give up control over your message, your product and your brand. And that is difficult. While, if you think about it, sharing and giving up control (which you don’t really have anyway), is the essence when building or maintaining a relationship. Within that relationship, you cannot control all the elements. Differences of opinion, misunderstandings and mistakes are inevitable. But in the end, that’s what makes the realtionship grow!

So, what you need, is sufficient confidence in your own strengths and capabilities and sufficient confidence in your customers (both internally and externally) to give up control. That’s Open Leadership. In her book Charlene demonstrates how you can achieve that as an organization.

In our interview, Charlene explains this further.

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