I recently went on a hike with innovation writer Nilofer Merchant that left me wondering why every Tuesday can’t be power-fueled with genius like that.
You see, Nilofer joined me on this hike the day before her book was released. It’s hard to describe how much it takes to go from an idea, to a manuscript, to a real book you’re holding in your hand. The whole experience is similar to giving birth and when the due date is near, there’s a great deal of anxiety, excitement, and a bit of craziness that goes along with the release. The last thing you want to do before this big moment is spend time with a stranger—or so I thought.
Deciding to blaze a fresh trail of one-on-one conversation with me, Nilofer gamely headed out on our hike, generously sharing her ideas on the future of the social era while also kicking some science on being an entrepreneur, a mom, wife, and community advocate. I was out of breath—seriously, I was panting—from climbing the steep hills together, but I was also amazingly energized by the insights and laughter we shared above sea level. I felt physically, intellectually, and emotionally fueled…and what started out as a random Tuesday became a high-water mark for every Tuesday—and yes, they can all be that good!
You know how much I believe in the power of building relationships with the people whose work and thinking inspires you. That’s Nilofer. Here are a few of the big ideas I took away from her new book, The 11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era:
• Don’t be the powerful “800-pound gorillas” of yesteryear; instead act more like a herd of 800 gazelles, moving together across a savannah, outrunning the competition.
• Where the gorilla was about having the right strategy, and having a few people own the direction, gazelles are about distributed ownership where talent at all levels is unlocked to contribute oneness and bring value in working together.
• Openness is the ethos of the social era. Organizations that focus less on setting up turf walls and more on being flexible end up being able to leap from opportunity to opportunity.
• The freelance revolution, the rise of flextime, the proliferation of virtual teams and offices—all of these trends and more add up to a big shift: “work” is increasingly about freedom, not constraint. This fundamental shift changes how any organization can create value.
About Nilofer Merchant:
She is a corporate director at a NASDAQ-traded firm, a lecturer at Stanford University, and a popular keynote speaker. She is the founder and former CEO of Rubicon Consulting. After working at Apple, Autodesk, and many other Fortune 500 firms, she wrote her first book, The New How, to share the secrets of unlocking collaborative innovation. Follow her on Twitter at @nilofer.