One of the many takeaways from last year's devastating Deepwater Horizon oil spill was that companies need to have social media strategies in place to help mitigate unforeseen disasters. BP CEO Tony Hayward grossly underestimated the extent to which his company needed to maintain a two-way dialogue with the public during the months-long fiasco—and he lost his job as a result.
Leadership consultant Stephen Miles (known in the media as "the CEO whisperer) stresses that all business leaders need to have a strategy for dealing with these situations, leveraging Facebook, Twitter, and other social media tools to keep the public informed and in the loop. "It’s not the old world where you as a CEO send a message to your constituencies and they say that's great or they don’t read it or they read it. Today, you have to have a discussion with everybody; that discussion is often in real time, and you need to be part of it."
Not every CEO needs to be tweeting about trips to the supermarket or to Best Buy, he says. But they do need to figure out a way to have a two-way dialogue with their constituency, whether that be through blogging, tweeting, or videos that go up on the web. And clearly this becomes even more important when things do not go according to plan.
In the clip below, Miles references a recent Wall Street Journal article in which Qantas CEO Alan Joyce admitted that he should have better leveraged social media tools after a highly-publicized engine failure aboard one of his Airbus A380 aircrafts:
To watch the full clip from Stephen Miles's interview click here.