E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

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Social Business – Rethinking Innovation, Organization and Leadership

Gran Canaria - Presa SoriaOver the course of the last few weeks I have been engaging on a good number of conversations around the subject of Leadership (Which I am hoping to be talking about plenty more very soon, by the way, once a publication makes it out there in the next couple of weeks…), and how social networking is changing the way we view traditional management / leadership moving along from a command-and-control attitude into one of leaders as servants, which clearly comes to define, in my opinion, the next generation of leaders 2.0 for the 21st century. But, I am sure you may be wondering, what would it look like, right? How do we identify those new, emerging leaders both within the workplace, as well as in our own societies? How do we make them stand out and help them lead us in such a complex, global and diverse environment? What would we have to do to transition successfully into that kind of new leadership? I know, lots of questions, right? Well, here is one potential answer to them all: Social Business – Rethinking Innovation, Organization and Leadership

I can’t get enough of it, I tell you. I *love* it when some of my favourite people bump into those little golden nuggets and precious gems on some really thought-provoking subject(s), specially, related to Social Computing, and they share them across openly to inspire others to get involved in the conversations. Well, I just had one of those moments! Yesterday afternoon, in our microblogging social tools, my good friend and long time KM & Collaboration extraordinaire, Scott J Smith, shared along this absolutely wonderful YouTube 4 minute video clip under the heading “Social Business – Rethinking Innovation, Organization and Leadership“:

And from there onwards, it’s been making the rounds time and time again all over the place. It’s one of those fantastic short video clips that you know you need to bookmark somewhere, as you are bound to make use of it as a superb icebreaker for upcoming workshops or presentations you may be delivering around the subject of social business. The clip itself describes, pretty nicely, the background of the emerging social networking world as part of a larger ecosystem where complexity, globalisation, people movements, the financial crisis, urbanisations, outsourcing, women in the workplace / society, collaborative software, disruptive innovations, etc. etc. are helping provoke the necessary changes of how we conduct business nowadays.

However, traditional management doesn’t seem to be keeping up nicely with those rampant changes we have all gone through over the course of decades. On the contrary, in pretty much all over the corporate world out there, some of our management systems are still very much thinking along the terms of the industrial revolution and not the digital one we have been living over the last decade, for instance. Somehow, it looks like that change is now more necessary than ever. And that’s just exactly the premise behind this very short, but rather inspiring, video clip; here is an excerpt of the description that was put together for it:

A more open and transparent world challenge us to rethink the way we do business, the way we organize and the way we lead. Globalization, Tranparency, Social Media, Collaborative software – all part of a social revolution that forces companies to engage in Social Business Innovation and Open Business Leadership. What can we learn from LEGO, Google, Starbucks, Proctor & Gamble and Nike?

If someone would ask me to explain what the Future of the Workplace would be like, my definition would probably come pretty close to some of the main messages you will see permeating throughout the video: openness, transparency, a growing need for CLOs (Chief Listening Officers – Goodness, gotta love that job role!), trust, engagement, work organised around networks and communities versus organisations and traditional hierarchies, social capital as *the* main driver of interactions, etc. etc. In short, a new kind of leadership inspired by social business innovation and driven by those very same knowledge workers who are willing to shape up the next generation of their leaders, the next generation of business.

Like I said, this short YouTube video clip will surely make you think twice about how you view work, how you interact with other knowledge workers, and how social networking, both inside and outside of the firewall, is helping shape up some of those various different interactions, making them clearer, more transparent, more open, more public defining the way we are going to do business from now onwards. The good thing, as the clip shows, is that we won’t have to wait much longer. It’s already there! It’s already happening in multiple places and it’s just a matter for us to decide how we would want to facilitate that change to take place, because whether we like it or not, we are at that point in time, where change is inevitable; so we may as well embrace it and make the most out of it, don’t you think?

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  1. Luis – great post! I love the CLO concept. How do I apply for that job?! I just finished the book 2020 Workplace and much of what I read is what you are talking about here. Keep up the great work!

    1. Hi Bill! That’s just wonderful! Thanks a lot for the feedback comments and for dropping by! Yeah, I know! That’s quite a good job description in there, isn’t it? Somehow I feel that we would all eventually become CLOs at some point in time as we get more involved and immersed in the social networking world, which, imo, is very much needed! So, we will probably have to hang in there for a little while longer! hehe

      Oh, by the way, RE: the 2020 Workplace book, you may want to check the Profiles Board from Rawn Shah, as he just announced over there our next Author Talk and we will be having the true honour of having Jeanne Meister with us sharing some further insights from the book and the future of the workplace; I bet you would enjoy it as well! 😀

      Take care and speak soon!

      1. Yes Sir, I have it on my calendar as well. Can’t wait for that talk. Hope all is well over in EU.

        1. Hi Bill! Fantastic! I look forward to seeing you there sharing along your opinions on the book! It’s still on my pending books to read, after the couple of them I am reading at the moment… can’t wait to start reading it! Been hearing lots of great things about it and how it’s portraying the Workplace of the Future! 🙂

          PS. Things are going well over here, indeed! Hope you, too, on the other side of the pond! heh

  2. To your questions on how we identify and develop those new leaders, perhaps the trick is to stop looking for leaders in the first place.


    What if we started looking for BUILDERS; those people who are doing more than leading others through the smoggy world of business-as-usual, but forging new paths in different, fundamentally meaningful new directions?

    Are you familiar with Umair Haque? If not, you should Google him. Powerful stuff in his “Builder’s Manifesto,” circa 2009.

    “The boss says, ‘Get there on time;’ the leader gets there ahead of time. The Builder makes sure ‘getting there’ matters.”

    1. Hi Brian! Thanks a lot for that wonderful contribution! Very timely and spot on, as usual! I have heard and eventually follow Umair (Have been for a couple of years already!) and you surely bring in a very nice interaction of what the next generation of leaders should be like! “Builders”, indeed, look like the right mix! Even more when you inject another concept a colleague, and good friend of mine, has been using for a long while now: “social bridge-builder” (Hiya, Andy Piper).

      I actually think that’s probably an innate quality of the next generation of leaders, where their motto of “Leaders as servants” could surely be what they live for! In fact, if you look into the recent global events that have taken place over the last few months, it surely encourages that concept of “Builders”, i.e. making sure “getting there” matters!

      Brilliant stuff, Brian! Thanks for helping make that connection! Good stuff! 🙂

      1. Already following for years? Truly, you are the avant garde, señor!

        I’m digging Andy’s concept of social bridge building. That’s solid.

        One final thought along these lines, as much as I like the idea of building (bridges or otherwise), the one thing I think I’d like to build more than anything else…

        more builders.


        1. Hi Brian! Well, for years, you know what I mean… for about 2 to 3 years, when he first started talking and blogging about what was coming with the financial crisis that no-one paid much attention to it; looks like the game has changed and somehow everyone is paying attention, which we should! 🙂

          RE: Builders, I surely agree with you on that statement! The more we have, the better! I agree with you they are the glue that makes every org stick together regardless of the business context or business outcomes. To the point where they could convert themselves into the new Free Agents of the corporate world, which I guess is something we are going to keep seeing from here onwards … hehe Can’t wait for that!

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