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The Impact of The Hollywood Model on the Social Age Workplace

Guest post by co-author of “A World Gone Social” Ted Coiné:

Social Age employment is an entirely different animal from what we all grew up with: the Industrial Age myth of lifetime employment within very large corporations.

Specifically, we call that myth the “40-40-40 Plan” where we as employees work 40 hours a week for 40 years to retire at 40% pay through a pension. The reality is however, that model only really lasted from the 1940′s to the 1970′s. Yet we still seem to think that is the way life works. We are wrong. Dead wrong.

Welcome to the Social Age

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In the Social Age, we’re already walking away from that shattered paradigm by the millions. And at least in a healthy economy, this can be a good thing for all concerned.

Instead of thinking of employment in terms of working one’s way up a corporate hierarchy, what we’re already seeing what we refer to in A World Gone Social as the “nano” business unit: small, self-forming teams of professionals who come together for a project, get the work done, then disassemble, individuals moving singly or in small groups to the next project.

Rather than lifetime employment within a large bureaucracy, nano means lifetime self-employment – very similar to the way work has been done in the movie industry for decades.

The Hollywood Model

Ever stick around at a movie to watch the closing credits? See all those names scrolling by? There’s a good reason for that…

Hundreds of team members come together for several months, or even years, to make the movies we watch. Then the film is “in the can”—and the teams who made the film are done, too. While the director, cinematographer, and members of the cast may go on to work together several more times, the crew for this particular film disassembles just as fast as it formed; individuals and small teams go off to their next project.

The Hollywood model—even when making blockbusters with budgets of $300 million—is all about nano.

What About Legacy Corporations?

How about our legacy enterprises? Can they do the same?

Can they assemble large project teams from individuals and small groups, create something for the enterprise to sell, and then disassemble just as fast? Can each team member move nimbly to the next project, with a new creative force driven by different passions; different motivations?

Nano Has Already Begun

Actually, we’re already well on our way there.

If you look at the history of the corporation, what you saw for much of the early years was the drive to employ every possible job function in-house. But as early as the 1970s, this acquisitive urge began to diminish, and the fringe role of consultants became more commonplace.

Look at how most companies operate today. Walk the halls of most workplaces, and it’s often hard to tell who is a full-time employee and who’s a contractor, a consultant, an intern, or an outsourced service provider. Where once the megacorporation existed, today numerous individuals and companies come together to get work done.

Is it so hard to extrapolate, to follow this trend to one possible conclusion, which is the existence of thousands of small companies, or at least independent business units, where once there was one?

Think about what that means—what needs to happen, to make that happen.

This workplace revolution would require a culture-wide entrepreneurial mindset. A way of thinking we haven’t seen since cottage weavers were forced to walk away from the loom. A way of doing business not witnessed since the farmer walked off his land to find factory work in the city.

Can we do it?

The Social Age is still very new. But as we see more and more organizations – from the smallest non-profit to the largest corporation embrace nano – and the Hollywood working model – we are optimistic!

Ted CoineAbout the Author: Ted Coiné is the Chairman and Founder of SwitchandShift.com, which works with leadership to focus on the human side of business, and he is host of The Human Side TV, where he interviews the most fascinating minds in business each week. One of the most influential business experts on the Web, Ted has been top-ranked by Forbes, Inc., SAP Business Innovation, and Huffington Post as a top mind in the fields of business leadership, customer experience, and social media. Ted is a three-time CEO and a popular keynote speaker with over 350,000 followers on Twitter – and growing rapidly.

Together with Mark Babbitt, they released their book A World Gone Social on September 22, 2014.

Editor’s Note: I received an advanced copy of A World Gone Social. I was proud to share the following review on Amazon:

We are living in a great time of change. There are two types of people in this world: those who thrive by adapting and those that get swept away by change. Ted Coiné and Mark Babbitt provide a playbook on how to drive engagement. They’ll teach you how to leverage the collective creativity and passion from within your organization. Read A World Gone Social and you’ll be prepared to lead in the new social age.

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