[Big] Data is telling us that we – the great and good middle class – are generally screwed. There is a slide to low-paid jobs, we are extravagantly over-educated and our skills increasingly under-leveraged.
What to do?
I have begun to fight back. This blog is one small mechanism, one skirmish in the great war. This is my voice, my oasis, my company, my charter. The TMWK blog is my network effect, my pulse out into the world in search of support. If working out loud is anything, it is acclaim my own (peculiar yet perfect) genius. I can guarantee you that no-one else is going to volunteer to go over the top on my behalf.
At work, in my day job, I scratch my head, attempting to achieve similar outcomes for me and my team in the context of corporate goals and systems. It is much tougher. The battleground is scorched, tramelled.
I fulfil a typical middle-class role: neither “the 1%” business leader, for whom there is always broad horizons, self-created; nor the disposable, low-paid automaton – for which there are myriad new workplace opportunities (yippee).
I sit in, I suppose, middle management. I serve the organization, hopefully meaningfully. However, I understand myself to be in an at-risk group: over educated, impacted by vagaries of cost cutting programs, developing and owning and protecting processes that can quickly become out-of-date.
One day, in-demand and respected, the next (with new management, changed macro-economic indicators, technological advances) faded…
So, I am fighting back (against no-one specifically but these forces I feel without touching.) B2B corporate communications is one of those functions ever in danger of irrelevance. It depends for its import on the ego of the organization to project a face out to the world.
My role is not a core one. You can do without. I do not drive the business forward. I am a nice-to-have. So, it is time to be bold, to fight my way into the heart of the business, its strategy and direction.
Very broadly, I am telling people: “By 2020, I/we (my team) will be able to drive new business forward to successful completion through starting and deepening business conversations that allow customers to say Yes! to us.” In other words, we can act as a Business Development function, not just as service to BD.
“All markets are conversations” – ClueTrain. Even B2B ones.
Now I have to back solve to try lots of small, incremental safe-fail initiatives so as to showcase what success looks like; so as to ask for an invitation to the top table; so as to be a guide to our business leaders of tomorrow.
Of course, there is scepticism. Some of the business leaders just don’t see it happening. Others don’t know how it looks but say Go for it! This is a time for bravery, not sitting on the sidelines. I am determined to be antifragile: it is much better to do things you cannot explain than explain things you cannot do.
We shall see, always. Working out loud, learning as we go, winning and losing in unequal measure. It might not work, but if I fail it won’t be because I am simply middle-class.
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