THE POWER OF LIKE MINDS
There’s movement at the office for the word has got around. The senior management team and the board no longer have an appetite for risk. And who can blame them? The world has shifted in the past decade and things continue to change rapidly as a consequence of social media. The recent Alan Jones moment confirmed business can no longer ignore popular thinking and movements empowered by the new technology. Instead of customers and stakeholders sitting and fuming in silence, social media platforms have the ability to unite the disaffected and leverage their anger into pressure on business and government. Don’t like that advertising campaign or that policy or the behaviour of that individual? Then wreak revenge and havoc upon any associated business or individual until the situation is “corrected”. Oddly, one favoured social media topic is bullying and yet proponents see nothing ironic in banding together to force a desired outcome. Where will this end? I’m sure big business will now focus on brand management issues to such an extent that the old notion of risk aversion morphs into risk elimination. Don’t do anything that might be misconstrued. Or, before doing anything, get it legalled, have PR go over it, have everyone sign off on any project, so that should it go awry no individual is to blame. The problem with this type of thinking is that it erodes innovation and entrepreneurialism. And yet these are the very bases upon which creative new industries and businesses are built. If in today’s world business is too timid to do anything different for fear of social media retribution, then we will have stultified entrepreneurial spirit. There needs to be a counter-balancing social media culture that tolerates mistakes, that celebrates the edgy, that supports those who take a chance. Hopefully, the sense of balance so often lacking from what some might call social media feeding frenzies is not too far away.