Traditional Strategy Dies in the #SocialEra

(Click image for full obituary by Nilofer Merchant)

(Click image for full obituary by Nilofer Merchant)

I feel like we are straddling two worlds.  Maybe that’s because we are.

The new "gig economy" and “social era” are certainly underway. We are all experiencing what it is like to be at an inflection point in business and as a society as a whole.  We are straddling two worlds while making moves that will ultimately determine which direction our own curve(s) will go.

This is such a big topic to dive into and it has been part of an ongoing dialog that I am sure you are all too familiar with. It is one that I have written about in past posts drawing from people such as Andrew Grove , and forward-thinking educators among others. It is also the topic most frequently brought up by my friends and colleagues. 

New Rules for Creating Value - Reformulating Our Strategies

This is why I was so happy to discover a fantastic new book that I would like to share. It’s titled,  11 Rules for Creating Value in the #SocialEra , by Nilofer Merchant (who also created the obituary above). In it, she tackles this dynamic topic with conviction, clarity and grace, while giving it a face. In Chapter 3 she writes,

  • At the organizational level, we will shift from hierarchies to networks and thus free “work” from “jobs”
  • At the human level, power will be distributed instead of centralized in the hands of a few, which will allow groups to self-organize through shared purpose
  • At a philosophical level, this will mean a shift from closed and separate approaches to open and connected ones
  • At a symbolic level, the shift is from being the 800-pound gorilla to a herd of 800 gazelles, where communities-made up of regularly unique individuals-create value

This book is right up there with many of my favorites. The authors and leaders who we will reference as instrumental parts of business history twenty or so years from now. The writing that is influencing so many of us during the significant shift that's currently taking place. 


Of everything that we have been experiencing, discussing, reading or writing about over the past couple of years, Nilofer Merchant has pushed beyond, offering up new rules for creating value as we reformulate our future strategies.

Navigating Through Uncertainty

She also provides ideas as we navigate through uncertainty while motivating us to break out of any paralysis that might be holding us back and encourages us to take action in order to thrive – as organizations, as individuals and as a community…A wake up call, so to speak, so rich with depth.

In her blog , Nilofer asks us the question, “Are you ready to navigate and thrive in the #SocialEra?”  She goes on to say,

To do so, you need to know what ideas your're fighting for and how to have courage to do so. It’s about discovering your onlyness, speaking up, and getting your ideas heard, even if that makes you feel like a rogue or misfit. Often times, it means saying no to have the biggest impact.  Most times, it’s about being both the rebel and the leader. And it’s always about believing that the future is not created; the future is co-created.  

Hello goosebumps.


Another thing that really resonated with me was “Onlyness.” That's probably because this is something that's close to my heart as I continue on my own journey. She will be speaking about this at a TED Conference in November. 

 “Embracing onlyness means that, as contributors, we must embrace our history, not deny it. This includes both our “dark” and our “light” sides. Because when we deny our history, vision, perspective, we are also denying a unique point of view, that which only we can bring to the situation.”

Here, take a peek -  

There is a reality to what is taking place that we need to pay attention to in order to adapt. This reminds me of Bob Garfield’s “Listen or Perish” from The Chaos Scenario or even more dramatically, Brian Solis’s mantra “Engage or die.” 

It may seem chaotic right now, and many are feeling the pinch of uncertainty – that’s normal. But I am optimistic that with a brave heart, smart thinking, deep creativity, collaboration and sharing knowledge in practice – we will create new paths and innovate beyond what we would ever have imagined. 

It is our time…let’s do this.


PS. If you have any books that influence your thinking, please feel free to share. It is always a pleasure to get to know more about what others are reading and exchange ideas…and learn :)