Business Can No Longer Control & Rule

by Jay Deragon on 12/16/2010

The rules of the game have changed and now business rules and ruler’s have to change.

Business practices have  evolved into organized efforts to accomplish advancements by self imposed rules  established by the organizational leaders.  Rules were designed to keep order in activities for the accomplishment of specific organizational objectives..

Many organizational rules are used for the benefit of the few who actually decide how things run . Society tells us to regard those who challenge the rules as “radicals who have no respect for authority”. Authority has been used to control people’s activities for the benefit of the organization and many times for the benefit of the few.

Social technology is fueling a change in human  behavior which is challenging accepted beliefs about how rulers rule people’s behavior and beliefs. The human network is rejecting these beliefs because the subsequent rules infringe on individual freedom to communicate. The clash of behavior and beliefs is erupting into a discourse of rules and rights of people vs. organizations to rule people.

The underlying point is that what was considered normal rules or business as usual is being challenged by radical behavior and ideas fueled from 24/7 communications. Historically organizations have groomed its members into unknowing, most times silent servitude, to serve what is believed to be the best interest of an organization by those who set the rules, rulers.

Rules of Influence for Rulers

The marketplace of conversations represents rules of influence for rulers  — “a collective behavior or code of beliefs accepted as authoritative.”  What do rules of influence mean for rulers? Collective thought challenges existing rules of influence, instead of complying with the influence of rulers people would rather collaborate with the unspoken rules of influence.

Rulers have used media to influence the belief of the crowd. Today the rules of influence are being molded by media created, delivered and captured by the crowd. The crowd has rejected the ruler’s media and is using the media of the crowd to create their own rules of influence.

Rulers May Be Awakening

In a recent McKinsey article titled “The rise of the networked enterprise: Web 2.0 finds its paydayJacques Bughin and Michael Chui write Every new technology has its skeptics. In the 1980s, many observers doubted that the broad use of information technologies such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) to remake processes would pay off in productivity improvements—indeed, the economist Robert Solow famously remarked, “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.” Today, that sentiment has gravitated to Web 2.0 technologies. Management is trying to understand if they are a passing fad or an enduring trend that will underwrite a new era of better corporate performance.

New McKinsey research shows that a payday could be arriving faster than expected. A new class of company is emerging—one that uses collaborative Web 2.0 technologies intensively to connect the internal efforts of employees and to extend the organization’s reach to customers, partners, and suppliers. We call this new kind of company the networked enterprise. Results from our analysis of proprietary survey data show that the Web 2.0 use of these companies is significantly improving their reported performance. In fact, our data show that fully networked enterprises are not only more likely to be market leaders or to be gaining market share but also use management practices that lead to margins higher than those of companies using the Web in more limited ways.

The Wave of Evidence Is Real

Andrew McAfee writes: 2010: The Year the Cloud Rolled In It became clear to me as I watched the digital economy in 2010 that we had passed a tipping point and moved into a new age of technology use.  The Cloud Era is about the cloud, and also about three other fundamental trends in computing that became unmistakable in 2010. These are:

  1. Emergent social software platforms are here to stay; they’ll be part of the fabric of our personal and professional lives from now on.
  2. Technology Delight. We now expect the hardware and software we use to be appealing, intuitive, and powerful, all at once.
  3. Scientific Organizations. We sit on truly astonishing amounts of data, and have massive computing horsepower with which to analyze it. This means we can more rigorously test more ideas and hypotheses than has ever before been possible.

None of these trends is just a blip, and none is close to running out of steam. And as I look around companies and talk to their leaders, I see that most organizations are only just beginning to understand and exploit them. This implies a great deal of both opportunity and risk in the years ahead, with tons of innovation and more intense competition. Entering the Cloud Era should be a central part of the strategy for companies that don’t want to be left behind in 2011 and beyond.

What lies ahead is the need for a philosophical shift from leaders. One may understand the technology, the dynamics and the power but unless leaders change how they relate to the human network the practices of management to control and rule  the network will not change. After all, to control and rule is anti-social.

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