Thursday, October 30, 2008

Measure your change-readiness; find your leaders

The core competency of any business today is its readiness to adapt to the networked world.
How much is your business, not just preparing for change, but change-ready?

Measuring your level of change-readiness is the first step. Acting on what you learn from this excercise is the next. So, quite simply measure, the percentage of your people who are living in the network.

They are already adapting to survive. Follow them, encourage them, incentivize them and JOIN them.

What does that mean in real terms?

How many are active users of social networks (score higher for members of total communities - in which to take part you have to create part. Examples include facebook, myspace, bebo, twitter where the minimum requirement for involvement is that you create a profile).

They are learning the simple and powerful disruption of self-forming adhoc communities of purpose - the business units of the 21st century).

How many are creating blogs; with words, pictures, video or audio?
They are learning all about the disruption that we are all publishers now, all advertisers and all marketers now. They are learning how content connects people and people connect content. They are learning how to pool and share and create new value in value webs they control. They are creating networks of trust superceding anything the mass-focused centre can muster. And they are doing it inspite of, despite of, audience and for and with community.

How many have built and deployed their own widget? They have learned the user is the destination now, that it is more important to be taken with the user on their journey than to lead their horse to your chosen water.

Those who make widgets understand the content isn't theirs it is owned by the person who adopts it, who adapts it, who will pass it on with the same understanding to the next adhoc community of purpose they converse with.

So score your business for your social networkers, your bloggers and your widget makers.
You need to be beating the global averages - around 8% of internet users blog, more than 40% use social networks. The number of widgetisers can be lower - at present. We'll let you off with 5%.

Anything less and you need to take urgent action. Organise workshops, call in the experts but critically - listen to the people who are already doing it within your organisation. They are your keys to indiginous change - the most powerful kind. Listen and learn. This is an an important element of the next step: identifying your leaders.

So now get your venn diagram out.

Where those who blog, those who use social networks, and those who create widgets intersect, there you'll find those refusing to sheepwalk. They will be challenging your status quo and beating a path to success in the networked world.

These are the heretics. These are the people ready and willing to create and to be the eighth mass media. They understand WE are the distribution, the content, the 'user journey', how messages are transmitted... WE are the medium and the media carried within it.

We are the connections. We are also how the connections are made.

Support them, encourage them, incentivize them. They get the disruption - and what to do about it.

Be led by them.

As always, this is a work in progress, some thoughts in beta. Your adaptions welcome.

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The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?