Leaders Today Need to Learn to Collaborate!

Written by on May 11th, 2009

Leaders need to adopt social media and “wisdom of the crowds” to compete today

Fred Wilson Union SquareAbout 15 years ago I was volunteering in the Akron Public Schools.  I was part of a group of business leaders who were partnering and adopting classrooms and schools to help encourage students, reward and motivate students to do well in school.

When asked by administrators what kind of employees I needed, I suggested creative students. I told them I didn’t need students who could memorize dates and pass the typical tests they were giving them, but that I needed students who could analyze a situation, collaborate with others and create a solution.  This surprised them as the curriculum and testing they offered  focused on graduating a student who could show they had a mastery of memorization.

Today I was talking to a colleague about what kind of leaders our organization need in the future.  I brought up a position that Don Tapscot’s, author of Wikinomics, has been suggesting for years – that successful leaders in the future will not be the “genius” personality who can make gut decisions and move an organization of 10 or 10,000 successfully in one direction but a leader that knows how to use mass collaboration tools that tap into the “wisdom of the crowd”.    His book offers a number of examples.

Just this morning I saw another example.  In doing research for a Facebook white paper I’m writing, I came across a post by Fred Wilson a VC and principal of Union Square.  Fred had worked on a presentation over the weekend that he had been asked to give at Google, and just this morning posted his power point online asking for thoughts and suggestions.     By half past noon EST, Fred had 45 thoughtful suggestions from readers all over the world.  By the time he does his talk, he’ll end up with enough input and suggestions to write a book!

It’s just a small example on how we are all beginning to learn how to change our behaviors and reach out to others for input and advice using social media.

What can you do to use Fred’s example?   Think of something you can do today that builds on this idea!

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