“The 21st Century is a terrible time to be a control freak.” ~ Alec Ross, US State Department
Dave Gray’s new book, The Connected Company, helps us understand that the old idea of control as the surest way to safety is dead. Companies that seek to control anything – their image, the market, customers, and employees – are fighting a losing battle. To really have control – to be competitive, relevant, and respected – companies must come alive. They have to learn how to learn. They have to be in close and constant contact with their customers and employees. In other words, they must become more human.
At first blush, this seems an impossible order for companies, particularly those with a long-standing history of doing their work their way. What is certain is that this MO that worked quite well in the past will not work going forward. Customers and employees have too many choices and too much information literally at their fingertips. More importantly, they have many channels to voice their experiences, concerns, opinions, and questions to a worldwide audience. So should big corporations throw in the towel? Is it even worth it to try to compete in this new world?
Dave Gray thinks so, but to do that they may need to throw out every preconceived notion they have about how to do business.
Incredibly organized, The Connected Company‘s counsel falls into 4 rough categories:
- Find comfort (as well as challenge and fun) in complexity
- Understand and appreciate the vital role of technology to everyone associated with a business
- Blow up the silos and create self-governing teams
In addition to giving solid advice to C-suite executives, Dave Gray’s road map is valuable for entrepreneurs (present and future) as well as employees in large corporations. Much of his advice comes back to the idea that service is everything. And in Gray’s world, service takes on a far greater context than calling the 1-800 number to reach a customer service representative. How we treat one another, be it in a business setting or otherwise, on the phone, online, and in-person, has everything to do with our future success because the impressions of others, and their ability to share their impressions, matter more than ever before. Everyone is watching, listening, and learning – every customer, employee, critic, and competitor.
Initially, this plain, honest truth is terrifying. Our first reaction may be to feel like we are on eggshells every minute. It’s tough to live that way. It’s stressful, uncomfortable, and unsustainable.
A better way forward is to admit and own the fact that we don’t know everything. We may have to face up to the idea that we actually don’t know much at all. But if we commit ourselves to closing our mouths and opening our ears, to listening for a far greater percentage of our time than we spend talking, then there is hope for us. To do that starting Monday morning, Dave Gray has some ideas for you in Chapter 22.
Get the book. Get connected. Get going.