You can’t just dabble

briandunnBest Buy is a company I’ve been paying attention to ever since I heard CEO Brian Dunn speak about leadership and communication at the IABC international conference in 2009.

Dunn was the recipient of the IABC EXCEL Award for 2009. The award recognizes leaders who foster excellence in communication and contribute to the development and support of organizational communication.

Dunn is now ex-CEO of Best Buy as he resigned earlier this week amid some controversy surrounding allegations of personal misconduct, according to mainstream media reports such as this one in the Telegraph today citing a Wall Street Journal report yesterday.

I’m saddened to learn of these allegations as I felt inspired by Brian Dunn from listening to him speak in 2009. Whatever the outcome of these travails – and I wish him well – I believe his thinking on social media (in particular) is very much worth keeping in mind as a best-practice example of a corporate leader with insight.

Consider these words I’ve taken from an interview with Dunn by the Harvard Business Review in December 2010 which I often use as a best-practice example in presentations and other situations for assessing the pros and cons of social media in business (text below the slide):


You can’t just dabble in social media. You can’t use them only when things are good. You have to deal with rain as well as sunshine. And I’m convinced that the upside outweighs the downside.

If a company, or even its chief executive, doesn’t have a presence on social networks today, that company risks not being in the conversation at all. Over time, I believe, that can be fatal to a business.

Valid words.

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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