This post was written in February of 2011 but for some reason stayed "under a bushel" - not published due to an oversight so I am making amends and publishing it now:
Two synchronous events occurred yesterday - a long-time business colleague and now dear friend, Lynne Gray, blogger of ThatsPR was recognised as the 4th most influential tweeter in the online travel and PR domain(@lynnerosie), and I came across this article in The Washington Post.
Lynne does not have the benefit of a large organization behind her and is completly self taught in social media but she is making a significant, positive impact and the reasons for her high klout ranking are described in two words: authenticity and collaboration. Lynne is always herself. While she may defy convention - some followers seem to think that the Twittersphere should only encourage serious tweets with cutting commentary deploying no-nonsense language. Lynne on the other hands spreads cheer - she is the classic maven who filters and passes on useful information (nowadays it's called "curation" ) and acts on a sincere desire to help and connect those she meets in this space.
In the Washington Post article written by the Head of the Center for Creative Leadership, John Ryan observes:
Forty years of experience and research at the Center for Creative Leadership has given me the perspective that leadership success starts with authenticity, or approaching our jobs by being true to our own positive values and principles. People will trust us because of that, and that trust makes it possible to get things done.
Lynne's influence is directly related to her trust worthiness - she is consistent and genuine.
Tourism suppliers and destinations should take note of this. Thanks to the rise of social media and the collaborative tools that encourage conversations and transparency, it is now easier to allow the authentic personality of a place to emerge through the multiple interactions between host and guest. While each of those interactsion my be individual and unique, the core essence of a destination emerges as a mosaic from the fragments of specific experiences. Never has it been so important for any organization to reflect on who they are; what they stand for and why they were formed. These are the attractors that will pull customers provided the experience on offer reflects those values consistently and with enthusiasm.
Ryan also goes on to say
Engagement, humility and transparency are important for every leader. In particular, we can learn to be more collaborative, and that's a skill at which every leader can improve. In his new book Boundary Spanning Leadership, my colleague Chris Ernst reports that 86 percent of senior executives believe it is extremely important to work across geography, business units, generations and other boundaries. But only 7 percent of these executives said they are very effective at doing so.
Lynne's achievement reflects these qualities and models what many tourism leaders might follow - by acting as a connector, Lynne creates the conditions for new ideas and relationships to emerge and, thereby plays a critically important role in the evolution of our tourism ecosystem.