I was recently reading Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World (2010) by Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams.
They define wikinomics as “the art and science of collaborative innovation” and devote over 400 pages to global examples of how people have worked together with integrity and interdependence to achieve great things such as Wikipedia, car companies, and micro lending communities.
Greater transparency/openness and collaboration in business are principles that are here to stay. Networked intelligence (which includes social media) is affecting governments (from wikileaks to mobile phone coverage exposing events in Iran and Syria), healthcare, education – almost all institutions – and your business!
The authors identify five principles for the age of networked intelligence.
How do they impact you and your vocation?
1. Be more interdependent. Connect on a more human level with your clients.
People are infinitely more likely to help you when they know you care about them first as people.
Share your story: Bob is a client of mine whose heart is most embedded in helping women avoid ending up in same financial shipwreck that his sister did after her divorce. He has a real story to share. He has a purpose, people can relate to it and they know it’s not a marketing ploy. And specialists are easier to refer.
Be more interested: Eddy, a past client of mine, found that he was not earning the right to ask for referrals when we first started working together because his clients did not have much positive feedback for him. He was being too transactional. So he had to change his way of conducting meetings and take more time to get to know his clients before they could see he really did care about them (and then be open to recommending him).
2. Be more open.
I just got back from 10 days in the UK, much of which was a holiday (spoiled a bit by an upset stomach!). I called a prospect the day I got back. When he said; “It’s crazy busy as usual,” I was transparent and replied: “I really did not miss that pace when I was away this past week. I needed a break.”
My fear was that it would sound like I did not enjoy my work and therefore was not a good person to do business with, but he empathized right away and said; “Yes, when I get away, it takes me a few days just to unwind before I can even enjoy myself.” That was a real connection – the absurdity of ‘confessing’ that working 60 hour weeks gets old sometimes.
Real and caring are powerful words for others to be using about you.
3. Show more integrity: Focus on how you can help others reach their goals -
get out of selling and into helping. Consumers are so over sales and your agenda that it’s not even funny. We hate cold calls and we hate spam in our overloaded inboxes and (virtual junk) mailboxes.
In January when I was on business in the UK, I remember meeting with a prospect called Richard who generates over £1million/year in revenue. He said when he was first working as an adviser he would meet wealthy people and say, “This person is loaded; I could make heaps of money!” And he rarely did.
“What I’ve learned is that if I focus exclusively on making it clear to them that I only care about helping them get where they want to go, I get paid handsomely sooner or later.”
And you don’t have to earn £1million to make a difference. Brian Kelm is an entertainment professional based in Wisconsin who MCs weddings and corporate events. He is genuinely focused on adding value to others. On numerous occasions he has sent me books, articles, and greeting cards. He has his own quote of the day email and not long ago organized a fundraiser for homeless people. It truly is his mission to make a difference. This authenticity is the referable piece.
4. Share more: Implement ‘the 5 Love Languages’ in building stronger relationships with people.
Whether you are giving clients a hug; sincere praise; a personalized gift; trying to find a job for one of their loved ones; or taking extra time to get them information important to them – that is not business as usual. The kind of giving mentioned in Gary Chapman’s book can ‘tip’ a relationship into a new client or referral source when done as a sincere gesture.
5. Collaborate more.
Judy, a client of mine in Minneapolis, re-connected with a consultant who targets the same affluent community she does. Over lunch, she complimented him for being “extremely organized, personable, charming and a trusted advisor.” It was not hard to then move the conversation onto “how could we work together more?”
More of your success in the future will come from trying less to be a one-man band even though this is what likely appealed to you about your current profession.
Tapscott and Williams consider these five principles to be the new model for twenty-first century business. How are you applying these to build your success?