conversation is an engine

A lot can happen in a conversation

Chief Conversation Officer: So 2009

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Still…what if we armed someone with authority and charged them with getting us talking?12202013-tumblr_my0lh6gulW1qe0lqqo1_1280

Not just some C-level social media manager—I mean someone really interested in starting conversations throughout an organization and (especially) outside the organization. A sort of gadfly armed with an attitude and a purpose. That purpose would not be selling (it seems natural to put a garrulous salesperson in that position, doesn’t it?). The purpose would be collaboration. And the attitude? Open.

This chief conversation officer would not deploy monologue with all her contacts. Instead, she would be skilled in the art of the open-ended question. She would be relational and vulnerable.

Yikes!

But those are the building blocks of conversation.

Anyone intent on climbing through an organization will read those words and be repelled—“relational” and “vulnerable” represent the opposite of the power trip and pulling rank. Just think on the best, most productive conversations you’ve had and you’ll see you were free to say anything, you were pulled in by the enthusiasm of your conversation partner and by the crazy fun of participation. You were not worried about how you were coming across—which is the collateral damage of most boss-focused rhetoric.

The Chief Conversation Officer (CCO) will be a fearless talker and an optimist. He’ll be a mindful connector. He doesn’t know where the next terrific idea will come from. But he fearlessly pursues conversation with janitors and CEOs and middle managers and walks along with line workers to hear their concerns and ideas. The CCO is boundary-crosser and synthesizer: processing information from everywhere and spinning it into, well, gold.

Launching people left and right.

Sounds like a fun job.

And this: the Chief Conversation Officer could work effectively from nearly any actual position.

What if 2014 were the year of the Chief Conversation Officer?

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Image credit: Ho-yeol Ryu via MPD

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