Let’s face it. If we wait for Washington to take decisive action to help the country overcome current economic challenges, we will have a long wait indeed. Just read the front pages of the news this week. The congressional super committee charged with designing a solution for balancing debt and new revenues is focused more on punting the ball down the road than generating a feasible solution.
Yet, even as we once again witness and are submitted to inexcusable political irresponsibility in the face of economic hardship and uncertainty, we are living at a time of unprecedented opportunity.
The convergence of social media and cloud computing is opening powerful new doors for individuals with entrepreneurial instincts and passions (See Tom Friedman). With immediate access to global networks of potential collaborators and virtually unlimited computing power readily accessible to individuals – not just well funded corporations and governments – possibilities abound.
To successfully compete, certain characteristics and core skills are essential. Yes, it is helpful, and generally essential to have competitive skill sets in technology, finance, product design, merchandizing, all things digital, etc. But, these competencies are not sufficient within themselves.
As important are basic social and originative capabilities – relating, creating, communicating and coordinating. Your differential capacity to relate, create, communicate and coordinate ( ∆rC3) has greater impact on your ability to have impact today than almost any other set of competences you can build.
In a world defined by global networks of cross disciplinary collaborators, the ability to build and sustain meaningful, productive, advocacy-driven relationships is a threshold qualification for admission the the game. To get there, you must become a compelling storyteller and be able to forge and sustain positive emotional bonds through the exquisite delivery of products, services and customer experiences. You’ve heard me say this a million times – the most effective path to sustainable success lies in consistently transforming customers, internal as well as external, into passionate advocates.
Once on the playing field, you will quickly realize that innovation trumps competition. That is to say that if you set out to compete, you will lose— someone, somewhere will do what you do better, faster and cheaper. Innovation is as much discipline as art. If you are committed to and capable of breakthrough innovation – recurrently and reliably – and have the tenacity, discipline and audacity to put forward the raw products of your imagination – regularly risking failure and/or potential humiliation – you are positioned to stay in the game and go head-to-head with the very best.
Once engaged and in the midst of competition, your ability to stay on the pitch will be largely determined by how well you communicate and coordinate. In saying this, I want to make sure that you do not misinterpret my message and intention here. Simply sending out frequent emails, Tweets, blog posts etc. is not effective communication.
Let me reiterate. Simply sending out frequent emails, Tweets, blog posts etc. is not effective communication.
Having and using a blog, Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook has value only if content is distinctive and compelling. Otherwise, you run the real risk of building the identity of a persistent annoyance.
The central question in effective communication is your ability to read the world, see what’s there and missing and tell stories in ways that establish relevance and value for diverse audiences. Simply sending out daily links to articles and recounting events may well keep you in front of customers and potential customers, but dong so without offering value additive content runs the risk of becoming identified as yet another source of dime a dozen, unwelcome in-box fillers.
If you have something distinctive to say, find your voice and say it. If not, please, please focus your efforts elsewhere.
Effective coordination is easy to spot – it catalyzes shared interpretations, stories, visions, goals, promises and commitments within common parameters of time and intention. Ineffective coordination does not.
When it comes to coordination, to speed up, slow down. Careful analysis, insight, planning and thoughtfulness are key.
To overcome many of the hurdles of this chaotic economy and our state of seemingly never ending political stagnation, to differentiate yourself and venture, continuously strive to differentiate yourself through building mastery in basic social and creative skills – relating, creating, communicating and coordinating. ∆rC3