The New Normal of Business: Social Media, Change and Your Career


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Change is the only constant! We have all heard this before, but…

…let me embellish and illustrate how it can impact your business and career in the immediate future.

John Hagel, John Seely Brown and Lang Davison have been taking about the Big Shift, radical changes happening in the business world. Here is a particularly relevant quote:

The more the business environment changes, the faster the value of what you know diminishes. Success hinges on the ability to participate in a growing array of knowledge flows.

Sounds ominous but few people take it serious enough to dramatically change their behavior. Maybe this will be the motivation. 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing are relatively new marketing approaches. For the purpose of illustration let’s say SEO start becoming important to marketing 8 years ago and Social Media Marketing exploded on to the scene 4 years ago. Here’s another way to put it. Eight years ago you had to sell most companies on the need for someone with SEO expertise, 4 years for Social Media Marketing.

Today, there are very few marketing jobs that do not expect expertise in both – it is a requirement spelled out in most job descriptions. That means the 10, 20 or even 30 years of marketing experience you might have has dramatically lost relevance. While some of your expertise might still be valuable, your overall value is dramatically diminished.

It is not just marketing, it is happening to virtually all areas of expertise. HTML programmers were hot last decade, now they work for low hourly wages, when they can get the work. I am sure you can identify other fields of expertise that are losing value. Perhaps even your own.

In their book, The Only Sustainable Edge: Why Business Strategy Depends on Productive Friction and Dynamic Specialization, Hagel and Seely Brown argue that the interesting and profitable business opportunities are happening at the edges of traditional fields or industries. So how does one participate in a growing of ideas and potentially valuable knowledge? And, how does one prepare his or her self to update their value, continuous.

Enter Social Media and especially Social Networking. Both are constant source of ideas, insight and know-how in every conceivable area of endeavor. Yet but both require know-how to turn them into opportunities or possibilities for business and careers. Those who have these skills are the becoming the new have’s. Those who don’t will find themselves becoming marginalized.

There are books, articles, blogs, webinars and courses on all aspects of Social Media. However, since we not simply talking about tool replacement, rather radically new ways of conducting business, the best way to “get it,” is to become actively involved. In the process network with people who can help you, that’s part of the new know-how.

One more thought! What is happening to businesses that do not have a systematic way to harness and leverage these sorts of idea and knowledge flows?

John Todor
John I. Todor, Ph.D. is the Managing Partner of the MindShift Innovation, a firm that helps executives confront the volatility and complexity of the marketplace. We engage executives in a process that tackles two critical challenges: envisioning new possibilities for creating and delivering value to customers and, fostering employee engagement in the innovation and alignment of business practices to deliver on the new possibilities. Follow me on Twitter @johntodor


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