Posts Tagged culture change

Community as a key to success; or, there’s Too Many Secrets

Posted by on Wednesday, 22 January, 2014

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One of the keys to long-term success is the involvement in community. You’ve likely heard me say that the only value in knowledge is not in applied knowledge but rather in shared knowledge. While applied knowledge of course has some value, it is in the sharing of knowledge where real and long-term impact value is seen, and where both substantial personal and business growth is achieved.

I was recently reading an article in The Register UK that highlighted this philosophy quite clearly. In the article, the author outlines how Amazon is beholden to open source projects but refrains from contributing back in any substantial or consistent fashion; that the corporate culture dissuades employees from engaging in community either through code contributions or even just conference presentations. The article goes on to say this same secrecy while providing some short-term advantages is now beginning to show some long-term problems as new talent is going elsewhere, to companies that encourage community engagement and allow developers to grow both inside and outside the company.

In the changing models of business, the traditional resume is losing ground to more social and visible methods of proving your value. As noted in the article, a GitHub profile is now a developer’s resume; it shows both skill in coding as well as contribution to the larger community as a good citizen. (The same could be said for a twitter/g+/ or blog for someone in a Social Business role, as they show capability and skill rather than simply tell like a resume does.) Any company that has a focus on long-term success (as all say they do) must encourage external knowledge sharing and contributions to communities both physical and virtual. If you can’t attract talented employees, stagnation and eventual collapse are your only future in business. Conversely, when you encourage employees to interact socially, to share and contribute with a philosophy that extends far beyond sycophantic protection of self-interest and into more philanthropic ventures the future of business suddenly becomes both innovative and lucrative.

This new way of doing business is no longer new. We are now a few years into the experience of social business, and are seeing some of the longer term effects now becoming evident. Effects like the shift of portfolios and resumes to online socially share-able media, where showing is more important than telling, and where sharing knowledge is more important than simply having knowledge. The sooner companies figure out things have changed and to stay relevant means adopting community engagement models to collectively share knowledge, the better off we will all be as we navigate these new paradigms of work and economy.

It all reminds me of the 1992 movie Sneakers: there’s “Too Many Secrets”. But, instead of a nefarious plot to collapse the world economy, today we can use social sharing to avoid having too many secrets which will in turn allow us to adapt and change to new models of business and successful enterprise by sharing knowledge across communities.

 

Just yes or no, thank you.

Posted by on Friday, 20 December, 2013

binary_mcclanahoochieIs social media reducing our critical thinking skills to mere binary this-or-that type choices?

Whether it is gender roles, politics, or any other topic of human conversation, it seems to me that the way in which social media allows us to share our views has relegated the conversation into two buckets: I agree, or I disagree. Through the binary “likes”, we are encouraged to think in simple terms; a single click if I agree, or a comment to explain why I don’t. What is discouraged by virtue of the tooling features is deeper or more complex thought. While many of us retain the desire to engage in this complex discussion, the single threaded nature of commenting serves to drive conversation down a single path which encourages one-dimensional thinking. Lateral thought or more critical thinking processes are being diminished in importance to the deference of group-think and soundbites.

I don’t know if I’m right, wrong, or in-between on this, but what I sense in the social spaces is a growing frustration and chasm split between us and them.

We are in an epidemic of one-dimensionalism and binary thought. That is to say, our society is being torn asunder by our inability to attribute more than a black/white view of each other within conversational contexts. Too often have I seen conversations in social channels quickly veer into a this-or-that discussion: you’re either for or against, pigeon-holed with no grey areas regardless of how deeply we try to clarify. These social conversations only serving to strengthen an us versus them mentality, widening any small divide from mere cracks to broad chasms of perceived ideological differences between people.

Mark Judge touches on this singularity, this one-dimensionalism perfectly in his call to boycott the next Star Wars Film in his blog post here: http://acculturated.com/2013/11/14/boycott-star-wars-episode-vii/ , (with my own hat tip to Mrs.Campbell for the share on Google+). In his post, Mark discusses how geeks are falling into this trap of only being interested in one thing; that we have lost our broader scopes of interest to the deeper focus on one.

Similarly, Matt Walsh blogged about the power hierarchy fallacy in the way people talk about their spouses (with another hat tip, this time to Suzi Meiger for her share on Facebook): http://themattwalshblog.com/2013/11/18/no-my-wife-isnt-my-boss/

While I don’t fully agree with Matt in his post (I don’t think he takes it far enough and falls down a bit when basing his post from an assumption of male leadership and two-gender marriages) I think his ideas and intent is closer to being palatable by the majority than most other posts I’ve read on similar topics; that treating people as people, as equals in a partnership where power dynamics can shift and sway, where respect for the individual is tantamount to any societal pressure to behave in a certain way is critical to our future success as a culture.

Like I said, I don’t know if I’m right, wrong, or otherwise, and I don’t know what the answer is to the question at the beginning of this post, but what I do know is that more complex thought and conversations are necessary in order to save ourselves from the pigeon holes and land mines of conversation and interaction via social media. And, if it wasn’t already evident, let’s drop the name-calling, shaming, and dehumanizing words when disagreeing with others. It serves no other purpose than to diminish ideas without actually addressing the problems with the ideas presented.

 

image credit:  Some rights reserved by mcclanahoochie

 

Get that job: Using social media to stand out

Posted by on Thursday, 13 June, 2013

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We are in the midst of a global corporate culture change being driven by social tools and behaviours. One of the many ways this is occurring is within the hiring/recruiting processes.

No longer will a simple resume suffice to land you that dream job, or any job for that matter. Today, hiring practices have turned to Google as the defacto research tool; sometimes prior to an interview, sometimes even during the interview to vet the details you’ve provided on the spot. Imagine, for a moment, that nothing comes up in that search…. how likely are you to get the interview, or job if your knowledge and experience can’t be corroborated digitally? And what are your chances if the search returns no results for you, but does return results for another candidate?

Let us not kid ourselves: there is no such thing as “even footing” or fair playing fields when it comes to job searching and landing that right position. We all must do whatever we can in order to stand out as the right candidate for any job we may go after. In this new fluid world of corporate culture change, we have an amazing amount of tools at our disposal to help with that. Here’s a smattering of the easiest and most effective which can aid you as a buoy in your online presence:

  • LinkedIn: For professionals, this is a simple must-have these days. More than a resume, it is a network of opportunity that goes well beyond just job-seeking. Build your profile and join in some group discussion and you’ll begin to see the deep professional value both during the hiring process and within your day-to-day activities after you’ve been hired. While you are working on your profile, make sure you avoid these 14 mistakes and ensure you are putting your best foot forward.
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  • About.me: Some may call it a virtual business card, but this site is more than a simple card. It allows you to connect your other internet properties and act as a jumping off point, while also letting you stand out creatively with visual interest. Like LinkedIn, however, there are mistakes that can be made. Take the same advice above and apply it to this site as well to make sure you have a professional presentation and have the right text added to help with search engine optimization (SEO).
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  • GooglePlus and Google Authorship: If you blog or write articles you are doing yourself a disservice if you haven’t setup/connected your Google Authorship to your GooglePlus profile. I’ve blogged about how to claim your authorship before, and I’ll say it again: this is the single best way to improve your search ranking/results when people look for you. Setting up your GooglePlus profile with relevant bits of information will help your Google Authorship show more robustly and help you stand out even further in search results.
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  • Twitter: Yes, there is solid business value to Twitter. It’s not just a bunch of tweens speaking in acronymic code. Twitter is a great way to build a robust network of quick and easy shares pointing to even better content around the web. Links shared via Twitter and other networks also work to improve the SEO of that content, so when you share your blog posts or articles, you are increasing not only your reach but also your search results.
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  • Facebook: My advice here is going to differ from the above (and from what I actually do)- lock down your publicly visible content to provide only a professional image to anyone whom you’ve not added as a friend. This will help you keep in lock-step with your about.me and LinkedIn profiles so you present a consistent and professional image. This will also let you use Facebook for your more personal/casual use with friends behind the security of a more tightly controlled public profile. But don’t lock it down too tightly, having a little bit of content publicly visible will help give people a sense that you are indeed there and active.
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All of these channels will work to improve your search-ability and allow you to focus and drive the right content found about you. Call it building a personal brand, or just managing your digital persona; making sure the right content is available and searchable will go a long ways to helping you land that next job. If you still think it is okay to ignore social media channels, think again: it could be the difference between extended unemployment and that next six-figure-income job. Sharing your expertise and knowledge to help others is the new paradigm of corporate culture.

I can’t say it more simply than this:  if you don’t have a social presence, you don’t exist. That job you want? It will go to someone else who does share their knowledge socially.