Digital Leadership – Best Practice Principles

“Social Media has a soul. It lives and breathes as we do. It grows and evolves as we do. We should take good care of the legacy we leave behind.” 

–Maria Lehtman

Seeing the forest for the trees

As a visual person with a preference for symmetry in everything else except my home office desk, I have experienced significant culture shocks getting used to the wide range of social media tools.

Not to say the least, in trying to decipher the motivation behind each tool and its audience. I am using the word audience quite loosely given that ‘audience’ is plural and includes a multitude of individual preferences.

While writing this, I am aware of all the rules of ‘writing a popular blog’ according to the best practice and ignoring some of them with a clear conscience. Why? Because after being submerged in social media topics both for my work and in free time, I realized that the rules of engagement had started to stifle my well of creativity.

Is there a limit to #bestpractice or #goodpractice approach?

Yes, apparently there is. Your inner critic. The one sitting on your shoulder and telling you: “It’s not good enough….”,  “It’s not the best way…”, “This is far from perfect…” etc.

Complex programs need a good practice (given that ITIL is not a fan of the ‘best practice’ term any longer). However, when we come face to face with something we have never experienced before, the good practice guideline only takes you so far.

And how far is ‘so far’? It is the extent of your current experience. Had I relied only on best practice guidelines that were already out there – I would have failed many critical programs, to begin with. Why?

#1 There is never enough time.

Quantum theory gives an unlimited possibility of existence that unfortunately does not extend to our current business reality. If you stop the flow to discover everything someone else has already done – you will be late all the way through.

The workaround for beating time is to prepare. Prepare for the things you anticipate could happen and do not have enough time to discover. Never ignore the feeling that something might come back to bite you later on. Learn to observe with intuition.

#2 Focusing on what ‘should be’ can stop you from seeing ‘what is’.

I have seen many programs go through the ‘merry-go-round’ at the start of the project when people and things are still trying to find their place. I have also witnessed projects that never got passed that stage (luckily less so). Being able to focus on what you have vs. what you would like to have is one of the key aspects of getting programs to fly.

Focusing on what you have at the moment, allows you to make the best decision possible at any given time.

#3 There is never enough resources.

This is one of the fundamental principles of running on-budget programs. We are rarely in the luxury position to run a program with unlimited resources. And should we be so lucky, I guarantee you there would still be a lack of resources. It could be about finding the right talent, the right timing, the exact formula, the right clientele… possibilities are endless.

The workaround for resources: collaboration and teaming

Teams allow you to see and act in 360 degrees. Listen and trust that your team knows what they are talking about. You still need to make the decision when to speed up, cut corners, slow down or even call a halt but they will support you all the way through if you take their opinions into account. Enable everyone in the program to collaborate. That way you can counter challenges in all of the previously mentioned categories.

Social media is not a complex program but a collective of complex ecosystems.

The fast evolution of digitalization and popular trends create a continuous ‘uncharted territory’. This blog post is the result of principle challenge #1 while wanting to say ‘thank you’ and open the floor to hear your feedback.


Maria Lehtman
Maria Lehtman
MARIA has over 20 years of Sales, Marketing, and Professional Services experience from the international telecommunications and travel industry. Her achievements include successful global Transition, Transformation, and Competency programs in management roles in the the global telecommunication field. She is currently working in International Sales & Marketing department with transversal employee and executive social media engagement development programs. Maria is passionate about digital empowerment and the opportunities it can provide for people around the world. She is a dedicated photographer and digital artist engaged in several creative projects at any given time. She is a compassionate leader, and her mission is to support people in self-transformation and in embracing new skills. Her trademark is her capability to share a smile even during the most challenging circumstances and keep a 'mindfulness'-attitude. Maria’s posts and thoughts represent her own view of the world. See Maria's current publication on Maria is a contributing author to the inspiring book Chaos to Clarity: Sacred Stories of Transformational Change and Crappy to Happy: Sacred Stories of Transformational Joy

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    • Thanks for the example, Chris – it’s very discriptive. The challenge is that text represents only ca. 7% of the communication meaning. When that is further escalated to the level of attention that Social Media is getting today, with an increasing pace – it leaves even more room for interpretation. Like a rapid water flow it is speeding up, finding new paths to conquer. We need new media channels, technology and creativity to complement the meaning of our words.

  1. Thank you for the comment, Chris! Agree, there is an assumption that the world works in an optimal way – that you are able to map everything out. In reality, there are unknowns and gaps. Without smart teams, global projects are impossible to complete successfully.

  2. I found when doing anything, big, and I mean really big practices all seem to break down. It’s because they were based on assumptions that work for small things, local things, but not for big things; not for big things that span the global. This is why outsider of companies wonder what the heck that company was thinking.