I went to a speech yesterday by Morten Bay about Homo Conexus, the Network Man (go buy the book). Totally inspiring. One of his many points was, “don’t protect your content, spread it!”. Well, Morten, you took the words right out of my mouth (-: For quite a while I have been helping knowledge-based companies (consulting, media, advisory, accounting, legal) understand how they maximize on social media.
All these companies are fully aware that what they sell is knowledge, brainware, information, experience, methodology, know-how… Call it whatever you want. It’s all immaterial and can’t be put in a warehouse. It can’t be stored and every hour you don’t bill, is a lost hour. These are the hard facts. Still, traditionally knowledge-based companies have treated their “products” (their knowledge, their intellectual property) as a secret. Their bills-of-material are called CVs or resumes and are usually kept in the company vault, written in Word (often anonymized) and stored on a hard-to-find network drive. Usually out-of-date, unless a client needs it, in which case the CV is pulled out and updated in a flash. Recognize the scenario?
This begs the question: Why? Well, if you ask most company executives they will tell you that they have to protect their valuable assets against predatory headhunters. If they didn’t, they’d lose their best employees in no time. True or false? The following story may help shed some light on the issue. I met with an innovative consulting firm, Init, now Gavdi, a couple of years ago. At that time they were up-and-coming, focusing exclusively on SAP Human Resources. Their MD at the time, Lars Kramer, showed me a full-page ad they’d just put into the leading Danish business newspaper, Børsen. It featured all their top consultants, with a picture and a brief resume. Wow! Lars said he was a bit nervous about this move, but he felt it was the best way to expose their skills. And boy was he right. In this bold move they accomplished many things in one strike: Customers knew exactly who they were, who’d they be buying (full transparency = maximum credibility), so it generated lots of new business. Their consultants were proud to be exposed in a national newspaper, which boosted their value, their self-esteem and their employer loyalty. And it attracted other consultants, who wanted to be part of this group of top-notch consultants. The headhunters? Well, they all thought this would be a perfect hunting ground, but because the consultants now had maximum employer loyalty, nobody was tempted to accept any other offers (at least during that time).
Back to my point: Don’t protect your intellectual property (when it comes to CVs/resumes). Flash them, publish them, social-network them. Get maximum return on your employee investment. My advice is this: Forget about Word CVs/resumes – go straight to LinkedIn and maximize your use of all its capabilities. Trust me – it’ll do wonders for your business (-: