Beyond the Tweet: Insights From @AmFamJack Salzwedel

April 23, 2018

Hey folks. I’m getting ramped up on LinkedIn…lets connect on that social tool. Btw, I’m not looking for a new job! 🙂

That’s the way Jack Salzwedel invited American Family employees to join him on LinkedIn in 2014—the last piece of a social media arsenal he started building in 2009 when he joined Twitter and expanded in 2013 with his blog called “Beyond the Tweet.”

What does he post about? Tweet about? Blog about?

There are messages about a great round of golf from PGA Pro Steve Stricker, shout-outs to agents and employees about birthdays, awards, unusual hobbies—an agency with a Lego-themed office and another that videoed office Olympic events like chair sledding and hallway curling, for example. There are podcasts with sports stars who are also brand ambassadors involved in causes supported by the carrier. In some of his more serious messages, Salzwedel shares leadership lessons and reactions to important issues of the day.

In an August 2016 interview, Salzwedel told Carrier Management’s Mark Hollmer, “It’s one of the more fun parts of my day when I comment on an employee’s favorite new book or movie that just came out. This is how you build deeper connections with people.” He added, “Social media enables critical, skip-level relationships that can help bring information to CEOs that wouldn’t necessarily be able to skip upward.”

Salzwedel also explained that moving from Twitter to a blog and then also to LinkedIn has allowed him to tackle topics of interest to him at a deeper level. Below, we provide some of his actual social media commentary for these topics—first the tweet, and then what he wrote beyond the tweet.

On Self-Leadership

Beyond the Tweet

“Something hadn’t gone my way…Although I didn’t realize it, I was blaming someone else for not getting something done.

My former boss and then-American Family Insurance CEO Dave Anderson [said]: ‘Jack, you’re too good for that…Own up to this yourself. Deal with it. Move forward…’

People who are self-aware of their strengths and opportunities to learn and grow understand…that our personal paths to success are not always linear but can have sideways detours or downturns… These aren’t bad things…”

On Failing

Beyond the Tweet

“All leaders—and their organizations—simply cannot gloss over failures. Instead, shine a light on them…

Sunshine is a great disinfectant!

For all of us, failing gives us an opportunity to learn—not complain, not call out missteps and not point fingers. It can be uncomfortable…

Failure is what we want to avoid—when what we do, or how we do it, ends poorly, because of bad processes, lack of courage or an untrusting culture.

Failing is not the same…To avoid failure, we learn from failing.”

On Diversity and Inclusion

Beyond the Tweet

“It’s an understatement to say we’re in a difficult period. There’s division and a basic and fundamental conflict going on between freedom of speech and equality for everyone…

Who wouldn’t want to be a part of a company that truly welcomes everyone? A company that believes how we deliver results is as important as what results are delivered.”