May 19, 2020

Australian SMEs are failing at social media, says Telstra

Business
Australia
Telstra
Social Media
Bizclik Editor
2 min
Australian SMEs are failing at social media, says Telstra

 

Less than a quarter of Australian small and medium-size businesses (SMEs) are taking advantage of social media marketing opportunities, new research from Telstra revealed.

A survey of 1000 SMEs found that 24 per cent of businesses utilise social media, and 12 per cent said they felt social-driven initiatives hindered their business successes.

The finances and time required to build up these profiles and followings, however, seems to be the number one reason why smaller businesses have not taken the leap into social.

"Social media is very labour intensive and is a big investment for business owners, particularly for companies with 15 employees or less," social media expert Karalee Evans told news.com.au.

"But these businesses are actually connecting to their customers and using social media on a much more personal level by adding their own personality to their brand, and is something they do well.

"Customers ultimately want a humanised brand and this is where smaller companies actually have the leg up as they're dealing with the business owner instead of the corporation."

Telstra maintains that investing the time to create a social presence is expected by consumers in today’s increasingly competitive business world.

"In a digital age where smartphones and tablets are used on a daily basis, we know customers expect a company to have a social media presence," said Will Irving, Group managing director of Telstra Business.

It seems that many businesses are listening: a separate Bibby Barometer survey conducted in February found that 78 per cent of Australia’s SMEs are looking into plans to expand their social presence.

Share article

Jun 9, 2021

Q&A: Professor Loredana Padurean, Asia School of Business

DigitalTransformation
AsiaSchoolofBusiness
smartskills
Leadership
Kate Birch
3 min
Teaching the MIT Sloan Executive Education program at Asia School of Business, Prof. Padurean talks innovation, smart skills and digital transformation

As someone who is creating Asia Pacific’s business leaders of the future, what do you believe are the essential skills leaders require?

In many ways, we need leaders who are Renaissance women/men or polymaths, as opposed to specialists of an industry or a field. A polymath is a person with profound knowledge, proficiency and expertise in multiple fields and today’s leaders have to be able to combine various ideas, look at problems in novel and useful ways, and develop a broad and yet still deep set of skills, talents, and knowledge.

You’ve coined ‘smart’ and ‘sharp’ as skills of the future. What are these?

They are replacements for ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ skills, a concept coined by a US Army doctor in 1972 who observed that his pupils had different skills: dealing with machinery required ‘hard’ skills, while dealing with people and paper were ‘soft’ skills. This concept has served us well since, but I find it too binary, not to mention the semantic implications of the words themselves.

Soft implies gentle, delicate, mild, quiet, tender, weak. However, there is nothing soft in navigating competing perspectives and cultures, handling and delivering critical feedback or dealing with office politics. Instead, I prefer to call these skills ‘smart’. Hard implies rigid, difficult, heavy, static. But how can we think of engineering or software development as static or rigid? I believe ‘sharp’ is more apt as such skills need constant updating or sharpening. 

I think it’s time to reflect on these classifications, because we can drastically change someone’s perspective by how we choose to talk about and frame something. 

How important are smart skills in leadership today?

Smart skills are more important than ever because we live in a world of extreme diversity: generational, ethical, value-based, gender, etc. Gone are the days when giving an order was an effective act of leadership. I personally work with people from five different continents and across five different generations, therefore as leaders, we need to know how to adapt, motivate, inspire and connect. We need to increase our investment in learning about them in action, especially as smart skills are more difficult to develop.

I believe that a successful leader today has to be both smart and sharp. Take cognitive readiness, one of my top 10 smart skills. In order to be cognitive ready, one has to master system dynamics, one of my top 10 sharp skills. Also, did you know that one of the primary reasons why digital transformation fails is not the absence of digital literacy, a sharp skill, but the need for more validation and adaptability, both smart skills. So, instead of thinking of these skills as binary, I prefer to think of them as the yin and yang; co-existing and complementing each other. 

So, you can teach leaders smart skills then?

Yes, you can, via a combination of the classroom experience, plus an action component supported by deeply embedded reflection. At ASB we call this Action Learning, and we teach it both in the MBA and in the executive programs. For example, in teaching a leader emotional maturity as a smart skill, first they need to learn what it is, and then act on it, before reflecting on what we did and how we did it. And then to repeat it, but this time with more expertise and awareness. It’s not easy, but that’s why my favourite mantra is ‘the job is easy, the people are not’. 

Discover Professor Padurean's successful skills for a digital transformation here

 

Share article