Monday, November 23, 2009

Putting people first remains the winning strategy

 For many a long year, sensible CEO's have recognised that their greatest asset is their people.

Certainly it was something drummed into managers back in the day when emap was growing fast (I worked in what started as a few East Midlands local papers and ended up as a North American and European empire before it hit the great structural media slow down experienced everywhere else).

"Our people are our greatest asset".

The fact that we are undergoing huge structural change does not diminish that truth. The networked world doesn't mean that suddenly our digital towers of tech are our greatest asset, or anything similar.

No. People remain top of that list. The shift is that the ones creating the bulk of the value aren't necessarily 'ours' any more.

So lose the 'our'.

"People are our greatest asset".

Because successful businesses are now far from limited to the power of the people within the silo, those that, traditionally, they pay the wages of.

Now everywhere the crowd can touch your processes and supply chains, people both external and internal are your greatest asset.

Think of any supply chain within your organisation. What could be disrupted or improved on by the crowd - by people coming together online and from both inside and outside the silo to provide a wikifix?

There are far more external assets available than internal.

Adapting to the connecting, real-time power of social technologies means better connection with those external assets; greater contribution from them.

And if they bring you greater efficiencies and greater rewards through those contributions it is wise that we consider how they can be rewarded and what they seek by way of reward.

It may not (always) be cash. It may be the value and power of becoming part of something they care about.

But they are not there to be exploited.

Just as sensible CEOs always placed value on their people, so now must sensible CEOs place value on all the people their organisation interacts with and shares in the production of value with.

Putting people first has always been a winning strategy - the better connected world of the network just writes that large.

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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?