Welcome to the Social Era


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By now, much has been written about the impact of social media on business. Most of this has focused on opportunities to leverage social media from a marketing or customer service viewpoint. Much less, however, has been written about how social media changes more fundamental aspects of business. How will social media change the way we approach strategy? Will it impact the structure of firms? How will it change how people work together as well as corporate culture? And, how will social media help unlock more of the talent that exists within each individual?


In her book 11 Rules for Creating Value in the #SocialEra, Nilofer Merchant addresses these topics, exploring emerging themes and raising new questions for us to consider. She begins with an obituary for “Traditional Strategy”, the ascendant approaches to strategy used in most large organizations since the 1970s and those that many of us were taught in business school (think Schumpeter, Taylor, PowerPoint, Command and Control, Value Chain, etc.).


And what, you ask, has led to the demise of poor “Traditional Strategy” which we’ve relied on for the intellectual foundation of our organizations for so many years? Nilofer prompts readers to consider the impact of the Social Era on all aspects of business. The goal isn’t to provide the answers (there aren’t many “answers” at this point). Instead, she puts forth 11 rules and asks us to join the thinking, the conversation, the exploration of changes that are occurring now and will continue to disrupt traditional models.

The Opportunity

Of Nilofer’s rules, a few certainly stood out:

  • The Social Era is about connecting things, people and ideas. These connections have value.
  • Collaboration outweighs control. We need agile, flexible models that allow good ideas to come from anywhere. We need strategies that are understood and embraced by the many rather than the few.
  • Celebrate each individual. Nilofer coins a great new term-onlyness. Onlyness is what only that one person can bring to a situation. It includes the skills, passions, and purpose of each human.
  • Innovation and change become constants. Adaptability is key to how organizations thrive in the Social Era. Tolerance for failure, and the ability to learn from it, is essential.
  • Purpose is a better motivator than money. Money, while necessary, motivates neither the best people nor the best in people. Purpose does.

What’s Next

Perhaps the greatest lesson of the book is that there are no easy answers. The key to is learn how to create value and discover what works in a dynamic, rapidly changing environment.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Birckhead
Dave is the Global Head of Marketing Technology at Spotify. He has worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies to bring about marketing technology solutions that optimize business performance, accelerate innovation and enhance marketing. You can find Dave on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus.


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