Sometimes leadership is about the capacity to separate the wheat from the chaff, the fads from the trends, the reality from delusion.
Leaders must have the ability to know when a fad will become a trend and when a trend will become a direction. They must be able to avoid foibles while not losing opportunities. Years ago the sociologist Sorokin pointed out the essentials and dangers of current fads and foibles.
Every so often leaders lose an opportunity when they fail to see when a fad is a trend and not a foible.
Just look at when IBM failed to keep in-step with Apple’s visionary goals. As people in my generation learned, Apple wasn’t just pushing a Hula Hope craze or a Davy Crockett hat fad–they were paving a new direction–the PC.
Similarly, social media isn’t simply a fad–it’s a movement that’s creating fresh interactions, information structures, cultures, and products. And, at its core, social media is reinterpreting social time and space.
I’ve been asked: why? Why, discuss social media when you’re focused on writing about becoming proactive, the skills of execution, and getting things done?
The answer’s easy: I believe social media is a new capacity for narrative that is interpreted through bits of information, imagery, quick observations, fashion, tonality, and a new shorthand language. It will be essential for any leader to understand. It’s crucial that organization realize the implications of social media.
Part of the luxury of being around for so long is that I know when I see Hula Hoops–and this ain’t no Hula Hoop.
The following video will give you a sense of social media’s massive and rapid implications.