Paul Levy, President and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess, told a great story in his blog last week about how Facebook is seeing use in his organization as an internal communications tool. I had an opportunity to see Paul speak last year and he’s a passionate advocate for the potential of social media tools. While I’m not quite ready to endorse Facebook as a core management communications tool as he suggests, I do think there are some excellent lessons in his story.
- As the top dog in a very big organization, he had a channel by which anyone in the organization could contact him directly.
- He checks that channel, as does his management team. They take it seriously and they respond.
- People who work in the organization know that this channel exists.
- More importantly, he’s developed a culture in which it’s okay for a third-shift maintenance guy to shoot the President a message. Now THAT’s an open-door policy.
I see the fact that Facebook was the channel as secondary (although I admit that the PR value of the CEO having a Facebook page may have been a factor in making employees aware that this existed). It could easily have been an internal communications tool used to accomplish the same thing. I hope that they do have such a tool. I don’t know that the same maintenance worker would have felt comfortable posting to Facebook if the stakes were higher (a patient safety issue, for instance). Still, it’s fun to see how the Web is changing the world around us.