by Anthony J. Bradley and Mark P. McDonald
Many of us in business have heard the popular aphorism, "People are your greatest asset." Some of us may even believe it. But is this sentiment reflected in our corporate cultures and the way our leaders lead? For the most part, no — and there's a reason for that.People are not your greatest asset. Even great people are not your greatest asset. In fact, great people can be your greatest liability. If Enron wasn't enough evidence of this, the 2008 financial crisis has now given us plenty more. What about Lehman Brothers, AIG and Countrywide? Arguably, these companies employed some of the smartest business people not only in the room but in the world, and yet those same folks took their firms to ruin (or near it) and came close to causing a collapse of the U.S. economySo if it's not people, what is your greatest asset?It's how you empower your people. Think about it. What is the primary purpose of a business organization? To assemble a group of people, who previously may have had no association, and empower them to accomplish productive work toward the organization's objectives. More effective empowerment typically equals more productive work. As leaders and managers, we are familiar with empowering people. We organize them into divisions, units, groups and teams. We provide goals and incentives to motivate them. And we enable them with authority, tools, resources and processes….…we studied hundreds of social media implementations and identified a set of key mass collaboration behaviors. :
Collective Intelligence Collective intelligence is the meaningful assembly of relatively small and incremental community contributions into a larger and coherent accumulation of knowledge.
Expertise Location Expertise location involves seeking and finding specific expertise in the masses of people and the often-staggering amount of available content
Emergent Structures Emergent structures are structures such as processes, content categorization, organizational networks and hidden virtual teams that are unknown or unplanned prior to social interactions, but that form naturally as activity progresses
.Interest CultivationInterest cultivation is the forming of communities around a shared interest, with the goal of indirectly deriving enterprise value. Social media facilitates the mass sharing of interests like never before
Flash CoordinationFlash coordination involves rapidly organizing the activities of a large number of people through fast and short mass-messaging, often spread virally
Relationship Leverage Relationship leverage is the practice of effectively managing and deriving value from a prodigious number of relationships