Meet Josh (my brother), he’s 18 years old and lives in Woodland Hills, California. He loves music and is a great singer, trombone player, and guitar player. Josh, goes to college and he’s very interested in math and science. He loves learning new things such as taking apart and putting together gas scooter engines, video editing, and dj-ing (among many other things). Josh has the typical schedule of a college student: wake up, go to school, hang out with friends, go to the gym, and come home (or something of that nature). Josh spends an hour a day just reading things online: books, magazines, forums, and social networks. He creates content, shares it with his friends, and always knows where to go online to find something or someone he needs. He’s independent and networked. He’s an individual but connected to many.
In fact almost everything Josh learned about video editing, gas scooters, and dj-ing he learned about online; on his terms and on his time, for free, from other people…his peers.
Josh gets updates from his friends on Facebook, learns about products and ideas through YouTube, gets questions answered from forums, streams music from Pandora and Grooveshark, and is always connected to the web with his phone. Josh can learn absolutely anything and everything there is to learn with a keyboard and access to his network.
Josh is the new employee, manager, vice president, and CEO of a major company. Except there isn’t just one Josh, there are millions and they live in a connected “social” world.
Social business involves the present but it’s really more about the future, and kids like Josh are that future. We don’t need studies, charts, diagrams, or analyst reports telling us about how work is going to change in the future. If you want to know how work is going to change, just follow around an 18 year old for a while and look at how he/she consumes, creates, shares, and finds information. This is the new workforce and you can bet that the way they interact with each other in their personal lives is going to be how they are going to interact with each other in their professional lives.
As your organization evolves and develops, the future is always on the horizon. Your job is going to be to attract and retain talent and to make sure that the talent you retain is going to be able to do their jobs effectively. Your job is going to be develop an organization for the Josh’s of the world, that’s a social business.