Niel Van Meeuwen Kessels & Smit, The Learning Company

Niel Van Meeuwen
Power and Fear shaping Reality

Power and Fear. That’s what it is about. Two main drivers for organizational development and innovation. Today I faced both. Both power and fear crossed my path, and both with a totally different effect. One has the effect of change, of possibilities, of dreams and creating energy. The other has the effect of standing stil, of dangers and loosing enthusiasm. Working with Social Media in an organization always compasses both, power and fear, and at the same time it is us who choose who wins.

This morning I was invited by the management team of Carglass® to work with them around the topic of social media. Halfway our session we concluded that in order to make social media work within Carglass®, no strict policy with do’s and wont’s  was needed. This organisation fully understood the power of their employees and clients in order to make their social media strategy a success. We talked about giving trust and opportunities to all in order to use social media and talk about their company. They understood the only thing that is needed, are shared principles in using social media. These shared principles were noted down in their social media ‘policy’ and gave direction to every Carglass® who wants to use social media. Power to the people and trust in the company. Two main drivers for a very powerful approach on social media.

When I came home I found an e-mail in my mailbox concerning an other project with a different client. Together with some professionals of that organization, we created a very cool project in which we will use the ideas of many to create the organization of the future. In doing so, the idea came up to set up a blog in order to connect with other companies, other professionals so we could inspire each other and exchange good practices. The headquarters of this company thought so differently. The project team had received an e-mail in which they have forbidden the use of external social media. The arguments are well known:

  • Messages spread on Social Media cannot be controlled
  • We cannot approve content published on Social Media
  • We have to filter and approve all communication
  • Social Media will not provide these safeguards

Power and Fear. They’re always there and yet. They both have an other effect. The question I face now is how to overcome that fear. What can we do to make management teams think in terms of possibilities, rather than in terms of fear? And even more difficult, how can you do that if they don’t want to speak with you?

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Name: Niel

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Bio: Social Media, Knowledge Work, Learning and Development, Organization 2.0, Appreciative Inquiry, Creative Designer, Kessels & Smit, The Learning Company