Defining S.O.C.I.A.L. (hat tip to Tom Friedman)

Tom Friedman’s column in the Sunday NY Times included this great conversatio Friedman recently had with Marc Benioff at SalesForce.com as they discussed the exposive innovations happening right now in the field of information technology. As IT advances are blowing up all around us, Benioff offers a whole new meaning to “Social” and how the new technology will affect every facet of business, politics and society (and a heads-up warning to every buisness owner to prepare for the revolution that’s coming). Fascinating stuff. “S” – Speed “O” – Open “C” – Collaboration “I” – Individuals “A” – Alignment (all your companies ships aligned and sailing same direction) “L” – Leadership Marc Benioff, the founder of Salesforce.com, a cloud-based software provider, describes this phase of the I.T. revolution with the acronym SOCIAL. S, he says, is for speed — everything is now happening faster. O, he says, stands for open. If you don’t have an open environment inside your company or country, these new tools will blow you wide open. C is for collaboration because this revolution enables people to organize themselves within companies and societies into loosely coupled teams to take on any kind of challenges — from designing a new product to taking down a government. I is for individuals, who are able to reach around the globe to start something or collaborate on something farther, faster, deeper, cheaper than ever before — as individuals. A is for alignment. “There has never been a more important time to have all your ships sailing in the same direction,” said Benioff. “The power of social media is that it is easier than ever to both articulate, and reinforce, the vision and values that create and inspire alignment.” And L is for the leadership that does that. Leadership in a SOCIAL world has to be a mix of bottom-up and top-down. Leaders need to inspire, enable and empower everything coming up from below in a company or a social movement and then edit and sculpt it with a vision from above into a final product. The great thing about the new I.T. revolution, says Jeff Weiner, the C.E.O. of LinkedIn, is that “it makes it easier and cheaper than ever for anyone anywhere to be an entrepreneur” and to have access to all the best infrastructure of innovation. “And despite all of our challenges,” he adds, “it is happening here in America.”