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Interview with Caroline Taylor, VP Marketing, Communications & Citizenship, IBM

by abisignorelli on January 18, 2011

Caroline Taylor, VP Marketing, Communications & Citizenship, IBM

Caroline Taylor, VP Marketing, Communications & Citizenship, IBM

Here’s the fourth of the interviews in my “Not all bosses are anti-social: interview series“.

Caroline Taylor (@green_goddess) is VP Marketing, Communications and Citizenship at IBM. In this interview, she talks about the huge benefits IBM has seen in becoming more social within the workplace.

As well as giving some background on how social communication has become part of everyday life at IBM,  she gives some great tips and advice for those worried about becoming more social.

Here are a couple of my favourite comments:

“If you treat people as grown-ups…if you trust them to take personal responsibility…mostly they repay you by behaving appropriately”

“If you don’t trust your people, you’ve probably got the wrong people”

Just click on the play button to listen to the interview – or take a read of the key points she makes below.

Caroline on how she personally got into social media

Started out on LinkedIn to connect from a professional perspective but didn’t really use it proactively. Dabbled with blogging after her daughter started to blog through her gap year. Being surrounded by very ‘social’ people, was encouraged to get into Twitter – and that’s where it really took off for Caroline – both professionally and personally.

Caroline on how social IBM is inside the workplace

Social tools, platforms and techniques have enabled employees to recreate the informal networks historically associated with all working in the same office.

Informal, social interactions are very hard to create in current working environments – with people working from home, hot-desking, traveling from office to office – social tools and techniques have managed to recreate that – albeit virtually.

It connects the previously unconnectable enabling them to collaborate, share and build relationships.

Caroline on using external social tools like twitter

IBM is very comfortable with people engaging with the outside world – without feeling the need to look over people’s shoulders….”because, actually, we employ grown-ups!”.

If you treat people as grown-ups…if you trust them to take personal responsibility…mostly they repay you with behaving appropriately.

Caroline on overcoming barriers and scepticism

Keep gently pushing barriers…keep reminding the powers that be that this isn’t a bad or scary thing.

Business leaders need to lead by example – trust your people.

“If you don’t trust your people, you’ve probably got the wrong people!”

More information on IBM being social

A huge thanks to Caroline for such an engaging, interesting and useful interview. IBM is a fantastic case study for any organisation looking to get a bit more social. Created by their employees via a wiki in 2005, their social computing guidelines are available for anyone to view and provide very straight forward, common sense guidance on social communication inside the workplace. And Jon Iwata, IBM’s SVP Marketing and Communications, does a great job of highlighting this common sense approach in this short video…

Other posts in the “Not all bosses are anti-social: interview series”:

Arie Ball, VP Talent Acquisition, Sodexo

Stephen Beynon, MD Consumer & Small Business, eircom and Meteor

Keith Potts, CEO and Co-Founder of Jobsite.com.



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