Nilofer Merchant's 11 #SocialEra Rules

Nilofer Merchant provides great guidance in her new book, 11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era. These rules are actually unrules (my word, not hers) given their focus on fast, flexible, and fluid forces around modern work and organization.

We've moved into the social era, and I don't think we'll be switching back to more walled-in modes. Transaction costs used to make formality valuable in organizations but many of our transaction costs have been dramatically reduced by social era technologies and practices like smart phones, social network sites, electronic job boards, and crowd sourcing. Our expectations have also shifted given that greater transparency in some organizations is letting us see the possible across all organizations. People, technology, and organizational processes are shifting.

Have you already come to understand how these changes will affect your own work and organization? Have you begun to make adjustments? Whether or not you have, you need to read 11 Rules for Creating Value in the #SocialEra.

The book itself is of the social era. Nilofer looked broadly across the networks for her sources and feedback. Harvard Business School Press published it as an ebook with an option for an expanded print version. This is the new world of publishing and is just the beginning of how our learning, creating, and organizing will change in the #socialera. (See chapter 4 for examples ranging from Stanford to Singularity U.)

Key to this work are the ideas that:

  • Scale an be achieved through communities.
  • Consumers can be sources of value creation.
  • Purpose can become an alignment system.
  • Important to my own research and advising is that "work is freed from jobs."

Nilofer notes that:

[T]he social era rewards those that can bring together a herd of gazelles, by which they can be fast, fluid, and flexible. What we reward in the social era is being connected to customer insights and acting with relevance in what we produce and deliver.

Our organizations and how we function within and across them is shifting. There is value in being open with your ideas and an understanding your "onlyness" and the "onlyness" of those around you. Onlyness includes the skills, passions, and purpose that only you bring to the situation. There is still benefit to being individually unique, skilled, and motivated... But it is also important that others understand what you bring to the table. Saving an idea until you can reap individual credit may actually mean your idea has less value. Nilofer offers:

Instead of holding an idea in a closed fist, hold it out in your open hand. Someone can see or understand ideas held in a fist only in the little parts visible between your clenched fingers. An open hand gives your idea space to get bigger. Held in an open hand, treated like a living thing, it can grow, it can spread, and it can be picked up by others and made into something that will touch many lives.

Use this book to stretch your fingers and to help others relax their grip. Let us know what happens.

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