In the Industrial Age, knowledge was power. Today, the ubiquity of information has made knowledge a commodity. In today’s Social Age, connection is power.
So, how connected is your organization to its network?
The Social Age is the age of OPEN: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Network. Yes, we’re all ordinary (non-expert) in many ways essential to our success. But through our networks – the people we’re connected to, some of them highly expert in ways we are not – we can all be extraordinary when it matters most: as individuals and, together, as organizations.
But it isn’t the size of one’s network that matters. Rather, what matters most is
It’s not merely who we are connected to, but how deeply, that defines our potential for success.
What does this mean for the future of organizational communication? In the Social Age, choosing the best collaboration technology available to identify our top talent no matter where it resides within the org, and actually using that technology well … those are merely table stakes. Yes, they’re necessary if we want to make it to 2020, but alone they aren’t sufficient.
The more important question is, once you’ve found the right people within your network to help you through whatever opportunity or challenge you face, will they answer your call?
Will those in your network – your first- and second-level connections – lift a finger to help you when you need them most?
That is why the Social Age is the age of the relentless giver. In order to thrive, individuals and organizations need to give, give, give: to their “friends”/followers/connections … and to their actual friends … long before they need a favor in return. That is the only way to turn our networks extraordinary.
How does an organization do this? There are many tactical ways, but they all stem from the same principle: the ethic of giving. Of providing value.
The Social Age is as different from the Industrial Age as that was from the Agricultural Millennia before it. We no longer live in a time of the individual achieving greatness against all odds, alone and heroic. This is a time of We, not of Me. It’s a time when deeply connected networks are achieving great things, while those still playing by old-school rules are foundering.
Connect enthusiastically. Give relentlessly. And lead bravely. Do that, and the future is yours!
Follow #NewWayToWork on Twitter to hear more from Ted Coine and other social business influencers as we tackle the future of work together. And learn how IBM is changing the way we work and collaborate with IBM Verse in this video or go to www.IBM.com/Verse to sign up to be among the first to try it out.