I am working on a seventh book to be called Reflection Attitude. It will be a collection of dozens of articles I have written over the past 30 years. Most of the articles are 500-1,000 words. Feedback tells me readers enjoy the short length and diversity of topics I write about. I am hoping people will enjoy Reflection Attitude. I do not have a publish date established yet. The first chapters will be from “Get Connected”, paper I wrote in 1993. The target readers were CEOs of organizations. The entire article is about 4,000 words, so I will break it down into a handful of installments for the weekly e-briefs. As you read this and the coming installments, please keep in mind these were written when Amazon, Facebook, Google, Tesla, Twitter, and Yahoo! did not yet exist.
Written: November 1993
John R. Patrick
Vice President – Internet Technology, IBM Corporation
This article describes the elements of an Internet-based communications program which will enable your organization to increase its responsiveness to the marketplace, improve communications with your key constituents, and position yourself to succeed in this changing environment. The program is called “Get Connected”.
There is a new commercial paradigm developing around us offering vast opportunities for those with vision and fortitude. It is the Internet. The Internet is the latest product of the growing trend toward a truly global economy.
The inter-networking of computers is part of the same phenomenon which is creating borderless markets across a wide variety of industries. To compete effectively in this global economy requires organizations to adopt a degree of openness and accessibility they may not be accustomed to. Businesses already using the Net are succeeding because they have an open culture which best leverages the competitive advantages offered by the Internet.
You may feel there are drawbacks to such openness… Your competitors may learn more about your products and services, for instance. You may have read about computer hackers breaking into corporate networks using Internet connections but the value of improved communications with the outside world far overshadows any perceived risks in being connected to the Net.
A grassroots orientation, a key principle of “Get Connected”, is to encourage change on a grassroots basis. Top-down support is necessary for any fundamental operational change to take hold in an organization, but experience has shown me the most profound long-term impact occurs when key initiatives come from the individuals on the front lines. Implementing this approach may require a change in management style. Organizations which encourage and act upon employee initiatives will be the ones who benefit from “Get Connected”.
The “Get Connected” program requires a heightened level of communication with the outside world. If your people can’t talk about their work with intelligence, if not insight and passion, then your organization won’t gain the maximum benefit from their ideas. On the other hand, if they really understand what they’re doing, genuinely care about their work, and are empowered to speak on your behalf, you can achieve new competitive advantages in the marketplace.
Opening up your organization to customers, prospects, employees, suppliers, stockholders and many others can enlighten them as they look inside your company and learn about you:
The successful businesses of tomorrow understand this dynamic and realize these inquiries generate business opportunity. “Get Connected” includes six simple, yet powerful techniques for opening up an organization and letting others come in. Just substitute your company name for GetCo and consider how the following principles could transform the way you do business.
Next week’s e-brief will describe the first of the six principles.
Index to the Get Connected articles
Get Connected – Introduction
Get Connected – Part 1
Get Connected – Part 2
Get Connected – Part 3
Get Connected – Part 4
Get Connected – Part 5
Get Connected – Part 6
Get Connected – Critical Success Factors