I am most passionate about social business design and its potential to make our careers more meaningful and fulfilling for us on a personal level. For far too long, corporations have neglected to understand and engage with both their customers and their employees in meaningful, collaborative interactions, opting to apply industrial age approaches to information age challenges. Now, with the advent of new media, organizational hierarchies are flattening into horizontal networks of influence and businesses are starting to understand that it is more effective to influence than to coerce, more rewarding to converse than to message, and more fruitful to engage than to target.
While new media is in the process of transforming an organization’s outward facing institutions such as marketing and public relations, I believe that it has only begun to affect the organization’s internal business structures; as a result, most organizations struggle to more effectively inspire their employees to be more passionate in their work. To address this problem, it is imperative that businesses develop a deeper understanding of their employees: an understanding that extends beyond the resume or job description to one that values an individual’s brand, influence networks and most importantly, personal passions.
While businesses struggle to grasp how to tap into the innate passions of their employees, they also grapple with the challenge of attracting the right talent in the first place. Like employees, they too stumble through the archaic interview process, while in the back of their minds thinking that surely there must be a better way. Grasping at every possible tool in their arsenal, companies create sleek “web 2.0” websites, corporate blogs and twitter accounts, hoping to exude some shred of humanity by crafting a corporate-approved “genuine voice.” Unfortunately, such efforts are often uncoordinated at best and frequently represent the voices of only a handful of individuals with the corporation.
Conversely, prospective employees struggle to fully understand what a corporation, or a specific role within a corporation, will entail and how that role marries with their personal talents and passions. Stuck in an endless cycle of hope and disillusionment, many professionals cling to the promise that their next career experience will be one that ignites their personal passions, only to be disillusioned upon realizing that reality may fall short of expectations. While this is certainly a part of human nature (Read: Stumbling Upon Happiness), I think we still have quite a bit of room for improvement here.
Looking to the Future
Building on the initial promise of enterprise 2.0, businesses will become both more social and more open, encouraging employees to broadcast their professional activities as a part of their current social life-streams. In doing so, employees will achieve a higher level of synchronicity with the organization, enabling a new level of “hive mindedness” that will allow them to grow faster. Additionally, businesses will find that in encouraging more openness and synchronicity, they will be able to attract and retain more of the right talent. This combination of transparency and social signaling will also redefine “leadership” by rewarding social influence over corporate politics and backstabbing.
The confluence in all of these trends in social business design will create an entirely new set of business opportunities for entrepreneurs in the coming years. In the immediate short term, there will be opportunities for consultancies, like the Dachis Group, to guide current businesses through this transitional period of social business change.
In the longer term, there will be opportunities for new entrepreneurs to create businesses and business networks built, from the ground up, on the principals of social business design. It is this new era of social business design that I am most passionate about, as I believe it holds the greatest promise for the future of our careers.
What are you most passionate about?