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Monday, September 12, 2011

The Coming Corporate Revolution




“If you don’t have transparency you will be eliminated by the system around you.” 


Civilizations have clashed in an unexpected way this year....



the walls come down with each swing of the Social Media hammer
.... as ordinary people using Facebook and Twitter knocked down dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya—and are threatening absolute rule in Syria. A so-called Arab spring brought waves of liberation to a long-oppressed region. Something similar is happening in more democratic countries. In Spain throngs of young people, known as “the indignant ones,” occupied public plazas nationwide, protesting unemployment and exclusionary politics. In Israel ordinary citizens from both right and left united in massive demonstrations against high housing prices. And in India one man’s campaign against corruption went viral, bringing thousands to the streets in support.





Social Power and the Coming Corporate Revolution


David KirkpatrickDavid Kirkpatrick, Contributor
This social might is now moving toward your company. We have entered the age of empowered individuals, who use potent new technologies and harness social media to organize themselves. A few have joined cause with WikiLeaks and its terrifying stepchildren, upending the once secure corridors of the U.S. State Department and Pentagon. But most are ordinary people with new tools to force you to listen to what they care about and to demand respect. Both your customers and your employees have started marching in this burgeoning social media multitude, and you’d better get out of their way—or learn to embrace them.


It calls for humility of a sort most business leaders aren’t used to. “Trust is built by sharing vulnerability,” says John Hagel, a long time author and consultant who co-chairs Deloitte’s Center for the Edge. “The more you expose and share your problems, the more successful you become. It’s not about the top executive dictating what needs to be done and when, it’s about providing individuals with the power to connect.”



Executives can’t hide from the outrage. In the Netherlands earlier this year a social media campaign against bankers’ bonuses focused on Amsterdam-based ING. People began threatening en masse to withdraw deposits. CEO Jan Hommen voluntarily waived his upcoming $1.8 million bonus and ordered all company directors to do the same. 

British Prime Minister David Cameron recently proposed shutting down social media during riots like those that brought chaos to the U.K. recently. But Google Chairman Eric Schmidt replied to that idea in an interview in the Guardian with advice that applies equally to CEOs: “It is a mistake to look into the mirror and try to break the mirror. Whatever the problem was [that caused the riots] the Internet is a reflection of that problem. If you have a problem, use the Internet to understand what the problem is.”
If there’s a primary culprit for this changed landscape, it’s Facebook. The social network’s astonishing success in less than eight years has brought it more than 750 million active users in every country on earth, made it the world’s busiest website—and the most popular tool for fomenting insurrection around the world. Why? Because Facebook gives all its users a personal broadcast platform. In the past only a select few had such power—Walter Cronkite, for example, or those at the BBC. People on Facebook, by contrast, usually just broadcast to friends, which seems only modestly impactful, at first. 

However, a peculiar new dynamic—call it a viral consensus—may develop. Say you post a status update, photo or video that expresses a view that your friends agree with or respond to; that message can spread like influenza. Friends click “like,” or comment on the update, saying, for example, “Yeah, I think Mubarak has got to go, too!” or “I’m throwing out all my Adidas stuff!” That rebroadcasts it to their friends. The “meme,” or idea, can go viral and spread almost instantly to vast numbers, if it happens to strike a chord with the zeitgeist.


Plenty of other social software tools are now in the hands of ordinary people as well. They live on mobile phones that are really powerful computers—broadcast terminals able to spew opinion or information at will, as well as receive it. 


YouTube, for example, provides endless hours of light entertainment—or can be used by anyone anytime to broadcast video. In 2009 one appeared showing a Domino’s Pizza worker putting cheese in his nose while making a sandwich, among other abominations. Its stock dropped 10% in short order. One employee’s bad judgment damaged an entire company’s reputation. 

Twitter is a potent broadcast tool for anyone with a following; FourSquare, a way to coordinate in the physical world; GroupMe, just sold to Skype, enables you to send a single text or make one telephone call to a group of up to 25. All these services are basically free.



Don’t think that the trends in technology, and resulting social power, will ever give you a respite from the tides of change. Says Microsoft and Lotus veteran Ozzie: “All this was unstoppable from the moment somebody installed the first network—this steady march toward reducing friction and reducing transaction costs faced by individuals. And you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
Additional reporting by Adam Ludwig.

Source: Forbes












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http://www.forbes.com/sites/techonomy/2011/09/07/social-power-and-the-coming-corporate-revolution/2/

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