Social Business – Where Ideas Keep Fighting Hierarchy
If you have been reading this blog for a while now, you would know how one of my favourite terms / concepts around Social Business that I have grown to become rather fond of over time, to the point where not only do I talk about it on a regular basis, but I also wear it extensively, is that one of Wirearchy (“Redarquía” in Spanish, for those who may be wondering…), that my good friend Jon Husband coined a few years back and that, still today, in 2012, is now more accurate than ever. In case you may not have heard about that concept just yet, allow me to offer over here Jon’s description of it, as an introduction of what the workplace of the future will be all about… starting today: networks and communities, vs. traditional hierarchies and rigid structures, getting work done.
Indeed, as Jon himself wrote over 13 years ago: “In an increasingly interconnected world, a new organising principle is emerging…“
“Wirearchy is a dynamic two-way flow of power and authority based on:
- A focus on results
enabled by interconnected people and technology“
I am not sure what you would think, but those are some very powerful messages that surely have got enough traction to provoke a change of our mindsets and a shift of habits of how we have conducted business over the last 40 to 50 years, towards a working environment based on merit, trust, confidence, honesty, values, openness, transparency, authenticity, agile, reputation, effectiveness, efficiency, learning, empathy, etc. etc. A shift that, if you notice, has got very little to do with technology, specially, social networking tools, since they are just that, enablers to help you achieve certain tasks and eventually it’s all about that cultural mayhem that happens when ideas take over hierarchies.
Fascinating stuff, if you come to think about how wirearchy is slowly, but steadily, challenging AND changing the way we do work, questioning even whether we do eventually need managers after all or, perhaps, we should start embracing the move towards nurturing and cultivating the next generation of Leaders, as I have recently blogged about over at “Social Business – Where Bosses and Managers Become Servant Leaders“, who will master wirearchy vs. hierarchy alone. And this is where ideas kick in…
But instead of me explaining how critical and paramount ideas, and sharing of ideas, is in this whole concept of Wirearchy, as an integral part of Social Business, I’m going to take the liberty of pointing you folks to a video clip that I bumped into from a recent tweet from Vala Afshar, that will be worth your time watching it through altogether:
— Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar) July 23, 2012
Indeed, in a little bit over two minutes, here’s a rather short, sharp, but superb interview snippet with Steve Jobs (Yes, I, too, miss him more than whatever I ever thought I would!!) where he shares that absolutely inspiring epiphany of how ideas will keep fighting the hierarchy till they eventually overcome it to establish a new status quo of how organizations get work done in the 21st century and how, inevitably, we no longer even have a choice, regardless of what some other groups out there may be stating as otherwise. If not, judge for yourselves, here’s the embedded code from the interview, so you can play it right away:
Yes, I know and do fully realise how Steve doesn’t mention the concept of Wirearchy per se, but after you watch it you will see how close he gets to it when he explains fully a good number of its key concepts: like collaboration, like startup mentality (Disruptive not only bottom up, but top down alike, too!), like teamwork, like trust in those who you work with to deliver their part, like autonomy, like intrapreneurship, like problem solving, like lowering the centre of gravity and decision power, like, essentially, that wirearchy that runs through the veins and the DNA of any business as part of that soft and hard tissue that makes a whole unit: The Brand. The People. No longer a hierarchy on its own, because as Steve himself quotes, ”You have to be run by ideas, not hierarchy” and that’s probably as essential as it would get for all of those businesses out there currently embarking on that so-called journey of becoming a Socially Integrated Enterprise, i.e. a successful Social Business.
Who would have thought that one of the most perceived risk averse companies towards the whole concept of Living Social has been driving such social business transformation deep at its roots for themselves and for a good few years already without relying too much on social technologies to make it work? I am not sure what you would think, but I bet that from here onwards we are going to start questioning, and rightly so!, the status quo of how much hierarchy should be trumping ideas overall to the point of drowning them altogether vs. giving them a fair chance, through Wirearchy, to keep up a good fight and help redefine the workplace of the future according to how work gets done nowadays… through networks and communities, of course. Where else?