A Shift To Managing The Soft Side of Business

by Jay Deragon on 03/27/2013

globaleducation16_01Yesterday business was about managing the things that management could count. Today business is about managing the things that you can’t count…or at least we didn’t think we could.

It seems as though there has been a sudden awakening to the soft side of business. You know the value of stuff like culture, purpose, collaboration, human and relationship capital etc. All the things that have traditionally been labeled as the “intangibles” are becoming more and more important and visible.  Although in many circles those things have been centered around brand, intellectual property and goodwill they are now being recognized as a much broader body of knowledge.

The awakening to these “soft” issues represents the need to shift how we manage and lead organizations. Much of this shift is being fueled by the early outcomes of the Social Era where power has shifted to the many rather than the few.

The Soft Side is Hard For Weak Minds

It is easy to add, subtract, multiply, divide and manipulate numbers. It is hard to understand what you don’t know, don’t control and don’t want to learn from.

The industrial era mindset was trained to manage machines, labor and numbers by controlling and manipulating them to reach a goal to satisfy the shareholders purpose, profit.  The shift to the Social Era represents the need to understand how to feed minds that want to fulfill a shared purpose that creates value for all stakeholders.  This shift requires an understanding of value created from intangibles such as human, relationship, strategic and structural capital which are gained from strong minds.

A strong mind is not afraid to learn to understand what they don’t know, let go of what they thought they knew and the willingness to learn from anyone and everyone that knows something you don’t know.

Learning is like air. Life is unsustainable without it.


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