The New Frontier: Effective Ecosystem

 Another New World


The next major wave of technological disconnect is upon us. For me, those waves started years ago with the change from a Manufacturing to a Service/Knowledge economy. Next, the internet made it possible to learn almost anything from my desk and communicate instantly with almost anyone. Now, Web 2.0 – social networks, blogging, content on demand – is going to force me to adapt…again!!


Of course, the evolution is not happening in a vacuum. Our entire social contract is changing. The old contract required me to be a good citizen, work hard, and commit myself to family and career. In exchange, I would enter a paternalistic system that provided me with a “life trek” and a way to predictably provide for myself and those who depend on me.


That contract is eroding and a new world is emerging. The days of a job guaranteeing income and security are gone. The new system demands self-sufficiency from each of us. Company provided pensions have been replaced by 401(k)s and other self-directed investments. Lifetime employment and set career paths have been replaced by a new type of corporate loyalty where company and employee stay committed to each other as long as the relationship works. Even healthcare is evolving to some as-yet-to-be-determined system with over 47 million of us without coverage and the rest of us being asked to take more responsibility through higher co-pays and Health Savings Accounts.


We are all becoming more responsible for our own futures. Personal branding, networking, and visibility are all becoming critical elements in the modern person’s portfolio. The days of allowing others to define our roles are passing and the ability and need to control our own personal brand is increasing and becoming more necessary.


New Tools


Growing in tandem with these new personal requirements is a rich ecosystem, rooted deep in internet capabilities, but also encompassing diverse traditional and non-traditional platforms. Time and distance are increasingly irrelevant. Access is what counts in this new non-linear, uncontrolled, messy, pervasive medium.


The ecosystem is a combination of traditional and non-traditional platforms that will be used to define our brands and make them visible. We used traditional platforms for many years to fulfill our branding and networking needs. Mailings, phone calls, and personal meetings are some of the traditional ways we sent our message to the marketplace. Email and websites supplemented the traditional platforms, and now blogs, social networking, and content-on-demand are pushing branding and networking into uncharted territory.


The new ecosystem creates a constant clash between old and new, familiar and unique – all creating an ever-changing fusion of customs, skills, capabilities, and possibilities. Part of this is because the medium itself contains new, conflicting conditions. Relationships quickly become very intensely personal, while remaining relatively detached and anonymous. Information is as temporary as the next post to a blog, but remains permanently stored in the file drawers of cyberspace. Everyone can learn anything, but no one can know everything. The medium demands new skills and thinking – some extensions of traditional approaches and some entirely new.


These platforms and the technology behind them make the entire world much more visible. Experts will still be valuable, but expertise will become more widespread. The holes in our knowledge will become much clearer. My Dad calls this understanding the periphery of our ignorance. Clarity both makes our individual weaknesses much more visible and collaboration much more important. The ability to embrace the tools and become comfortable with our own personal shortcomings will be the difference between success and failure in the emerging economy.


I believe one of the keys to success is understanding what translates from platform to platform and how each platform works. One advantage for us is that there are no experts. There is a mismatch between management perspective and knowledge of the technology. Younger people generally know the technology and what it can do, but do not have the experience to apply it effectively. Senior managers understand business and have the C-level perspective, but don’t understand all the implications of the new technology. There are no experts. They are being developed day-by-day as we all learn.


Go Time


Creating a valuable brand and making it visible will be critical to success in a knowledge economy. This is a unique opportunity because we are all learning the best way to make this happen. Traditional skills and applications will meld with new technology and techniques to create new ways of reaching customers, collaborating with compatriots, and creating an effective presence in the marketplace.


I’m jumping in and starting the process. My LinkedIn profile is built and accessible, but I want to make my “Change Catalyst” brand stronger and more visible. I intend to make my LinkedIn participation more predictable and systematic. At the same time, I feel the need to expand my on-line presence through a website and a blog. This will be an evolutionary process over the coming weeks.


I am not an expert and this forum will be a place to explore the process together. Let’s learn from each others’ experiences and help each other reach our goals.


Make a commitment to join me. It won’t be boring!



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