The Strategy of Social Gurus

by Jay Deragon on 09/21/2010

The social gurus are now propagating the need for “social strategies” but few seem to be addressing the real issues about why organizational strategies fail. It reminds me of the early days of the “Quality Movement”. Who could say that quality wasn’t important? No one. Yet not one really understood what it took to create lasting quality.

I recently saw a video from one of the well-known social celebrities discussing the need for alternative organizational strategies with a well-known research analyst. The emphasis of the dialog was about empowering employees. While the dialog was interesting it represents an accident looking for a place to happen.

Profound knowledge  has taught us that by adopting proper principles of management, organizations can increase quality and simultaneously cut costs by optimizing and including the human network in design and decisions . The key to actualized  knowledge is understanding the organization as a system, not as bits and pieces. People are the foundation of all organizations. Believing people are “bits and pieces” that contain little knowledge rather are mere machines from which management can push buttons to get things done is the wrong belief. We are witnessing a social chasm of wisdom and knowledge which are confused as information. Pursuing strategies not grounded in the right beliefs is no wisdom rather foolishness.

So when it comes to all this chatter and propagation about empowering people, leveraging a social strategies and engaging with your market the fundamental flaw in these hyped up slogans are believing it can be done without changing organizational beliefs. Beliefs are the hardest thing to change. Propagation of old  information is the easy way out to sell a book or prop yourself up as a “social guru” because corporations  will eat it all day long and pay for the meal of nonsense.

Believing in Information or Knowledge Economies

Today “gurus” use social media to push out information, to brand themselves and to attract a bunch of followers to certify they are a guru. Organizations follow the same routine  to push out their messages to the marketplace with the aim of capturing “bait” for the kill. Both the gurus and organizations are using information to chase a dollar for their work, their offering and they use traffic and followers to substantiate their value. The slicker the information the higher the consumption.

In a world already overloaded with information the relevant value are driven from the transformation of information into knowledge, not the other way around. We get information thrown at us all day long. From robo calls to our cell phones by politicians to spam emails or social media disguised as “something new to pay attention to“, we are drowning in the sea of information.

Real value comes from  application of knowledge to solving old problems which steal our productivity. There are more problems to solve than there are people willing to apply knowledge to solve them. Productivity doesn’t come from increased information rather it comes from improved knowledge that can be shared with a crowd who in turn create more value from and with  it.

What is knowledge? Knowledge is transformation of information into creation of value yet realized or actualized. Knowledge used to produce economic benefits as well as job creation and creation of new markets is how we create lasting value. 

The essential difference between knowledge and information is that people will use information to feed themselves while those who use and create knowledge feed a crowd. Which is the better strategy? Let the gurus use information to feed themselves or the few who create new knowledge to feed the many who in turn create new markets.

You decide.

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