Whenever I hear about another crazy thing like a “professional Vine creator”, I cringe a little, but it’s not for the reasons you think.
I love technology, and I think it is capable of amazing things. And I couldn’t care less what title someone would like to anoint themselves with. We’ve had experts – both self-proclaimed and otherwise – since the dawn of time, and they’ll appear and disappear always. That isn’t the problem.
The problem is that emphasis on utility of tools and platforms undercuts something far more important, and something that really knits the foundation of a strong, sustainable social business.
Tools are transient.
For that matter, so are most tactics, because they rely on specific technologies or whizbangs or tools that will be out of date as soon as a better solution comes along. That means the guy who was THE expert in WordPerfect had a limited shelf life right out of the gate.
The fluid nature of these things is the nature of the beast.
But that’s fundamentally the problem with focusing your efforts and investments on a thing instead of the underlying idea.
If that WordPerfect expert instead communicated that he was a writer, or an editor, or a publisher, the specific tool becomes the vehicle that enables a skill or a talent or a set of professional capabilities. And he could just as easily decide to use Microsoft Word or Google Docs or SuperPublishingFutureTool and his expertise would remain in tact and relevant.
Which means you can (and should) develop a proficiency with the tools of your trade, but your chief investment should always be in honing, developing and marketing the underlying set of skills that is totally agnostic to those tools.
For social business, those skills might be things like:
- Strategic planning
- Psychology and human behavior
- Problem solving (basic, but you’d be surprised…)
- Project & team management
The list is certainly more extensive, but do you see the distinction?
All of these skills transcend the tools you might use to do work with them. They’ll endure while the tools change.
That’s why saying you’re a social business because you have a collaboration platform is backwards.
You’re a social business because of the practices and values you invest in, and the platforms help drive the engine that makes those practices work operationally…at least until a better solution arrives. Then the fundamentals of the design and intent stay the same, but the engine gets an upgrade.
In a rapidly-shifting world, your time and money is going to be better spent developing culture, communication, individual people and fundamental business skills. You can always train someone on the next Magic Platform.
The one constant in business – and life – is change.
The challenge – and the massive opportunity – is to enable the people in your ranks to be as adaptable as possible when the next shift happens.