While reading Charlene Li’s book, Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead, I was struck by the simplicity of an idea. She includes “the openness audit” and one assessment statement is “Employees and executives are free to blog and participate publicly in social media as long as they act responsibly.” Note the last two words: act responsibly.
That may be the best two word policy statement I can think of. You might be aware of Nordstrom’s famous policy statement, known for its simplicity, “use your best judgment at all times.” “Act responsibly” is shorter but just as instructive.
The C-level executives I advise often ask for suggestions about policy around social media. I believe Charlene Li has captured it with the idea of acting responsibly.
Of course that raises the question: how do employees learn to act responsibly? In a perfect world everyone would enter the workforce with that ability. In the real world “acting responsbibly” needs to be taught and modeled. Leaders need to create a culture where employees are clear on their responsibilities to each other, customers and shareholders. Values need to be lived, not just espoused. And critically important, those who lead must exemplify acting responsibly each day.