Why Executives Resist Social Media

There are many trends executives resist while plodding along successfully following the status quo.  While it’s understandable for some hesitation in jumping in on “next big thing,” understanding the motivation for that resistance is crucial to making better decisions.

The most recent trend is social media.  Social Media is big.  Millions of people communicate on social networks, blogs, and other social media platforms everyday and it’s evolving in ways that impact businesses as well as consumers.

Executive Motivation

Derived from Steve Borch/David McClellen's Framework

Steve Borch’s article gave me a another perspective of why many executive’s aren’t as interested in social media as others who are jumping on-board in a big way.

Famed Harvard psychologist David McClellen’s personality assessment broke an individuals needs into three basic categories.  Achievement, Affiliation, Power (which was intended to mean influence).

When looking at motivation profile of an executive, one can see why social media doesn’t seem like a place many executives would need to be. Most executives, while not adverse to affiliating with others, are typically more strongly oriented toward achievement and influence.

Social media fanatics, I would argue have much higher affiliation needs than executives.  So convincing a person with high affiliation needs to check out or even embrace social media is easy.  Executives are often different.  Therefore, focusing on the non-affiliation virtues of of social media is key to their acceptance.

There are many other reasons to embrace social media, but many still fear taking the plunge.  If you do take the plunge, my advice is simple, be authentic and persistent.  Social Media isn’t the holy grail for marketers, it’s a means to have a conversation with the world.   So jump in the conversation and start communicating with customers, employees, competitors, and potential customers in real time.  Share, listen, interact, and repeat.


One response to “Why Executives Resist Social Media

  1. Scott,

    I saw your comment on Mashable regarding “Why Brands Struggle with Social Media”, which led me to here. Your post about Executives being low on an “affiliation need” scale is a very insightful point. I’ll definitely keep that in mind as I work with businesses to embrace social media. No use trying to get a tiger to change his stripes; just find the right animals to do the job!

    Let’s stay in touch. You can find me as follows:






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s