The Industrial Revolution changed the world. It allowed individuals to team up in a hierarchal structure to create factories and scaled production. However, the Information Revolution is reversing the Industrial Revolution and shrinking teams.
Let me show you why this matters to you, your business and your website (yup, even your website).
The Information Revolution
Eventually, almost every individual on the planet will work for himself or herself. The Information Revolution is breaking down communication barriers and shrinking the optimal size of a firm. Employee counts will go from thousands to hundreds to dozens and eventually to one…You.
“We’re all meant to be founders. Meant to work for ourselves. We’re meant to be individuals and not meant to follow orders. We’re not meant to be in hierarchies and not meant to be told what to do over and over.” – Naval Ravikant – Founder AngelList (Among other investments)
Cue the Relationship Revolution
“We are entering the Relationship Era.” – Kees de Vries. My uncle Kees is a brilliant business coach based in Amsterdam. He believes we are entering an era where the boss is no longer ‘the boss’. The relationship is the boss.
The Relationship Era will even influence our approach to our websites and online marketing in general. In the Relationship Era, we will all be leaders. We will be the leaders of our own lives and responsible for the outcome.
The Relationship Era
We still partially live in a hierarchical business world. Which is mostly driven by fear, not trust. However, as my uncle says, “We are moving into the Relationship Era.”
What does that mean to you, your business and your website? It means we’re transitioning out of the hierarchical era that has many layers into the Relationship Era that is focused on the individual.
The ‘old way’ of managing a business and the relationships within, was driven by fear and had many layers. The CEO would tell the COO to talk to the VP of Marketing to tell the Manager of HR to hire more Account Executives. (Bet you can’t say that sentence 5 times really fast!)
The boss would give orders to the person below him or her in the hierarchy / org chart. If you didn’t cooperate, then you’d have a problem.
The most common introspective question people ask themselves in the hierarchical era is: “Am I good at what I do?” That’s all changing.
The ‘new way’ is different. We will shift away from the cooperative / fear based model to a collaborative / trust based relationship model. That means that we all have to know ourselves, what we can offer and take responsibility for what we offer.
In the Relationship Era, the new introspective question will be: “Do I like myself when I’m working so hard and do I enjoy it?”
Like the Industrial Revolution changed the world, so will the Relationship “Revolution”. A leaders role (and we’re all leaders in one form or another) will change from ordering people, to guiding them.
How to “Be” in the Relationship Era
Being an effective leader in the Relationship Era means shifting from problem-solving to providing guidance. Be a Guide. Don’t just order someone in the right direction and let him or her figure it out. Be there for them when they veer off the path or make a mistake.
Be present. Being a leader is all about breakthroughs to help others get along in life and continue in their way. Obviously, you have to give a few “orders” to survive, but other than that, just be present and guide. You might be wondering how.
For example: We provide online marketing solutions and improve website usability for our clients. Every company needs a website. Our role is to guide our clients to getting continuous results (more visits, more leads, more conversions, just more) from their website.
We can poke holes in pretty much every website we come across. But we understand that we’re in the Relationship Era. If we just told our clients where the leaks were in their website, fixed them, and left, we’d only be short-term problem solvers. New leaks spring up a week, month or a few months later. Then what? Then they’d have a problem again.
Have you ever had a beautiful website developed for you, had it optimized for SEO, did everything “by the book”, only to have Google turn your world upside down and change everything? Or Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn? You get the point.
Anyway, yes, we solve problems, but we start every relationship in a collaborative way so everyone knows what to expect. We don’t “take over” to solve their problems. Again, that’s short-term, reactive thinking. We GUIDE our clients to continuous results. We’re there when they need us. We stay with them in case they veer off the path. (Or if Google pushes them off the path!)
The key to the coming Relationship Era is to be present, listen and guide.
What to Expect in the Relationship Era
My uncle Kees told me last week that you can’t build trust. That comment threw me for a loop. But then the master explained to the young grasshopper.
What he was saying is that you can only show that you’re trustworthy through actions. Only then will the other one react with trust. Think of it like the old idiom, “Actions speak louder than words.”
He said the same thing regarding support. You can’t build support. You can only show that you’re supportive through your actions.
Expect to stop ordering and start showing in the Relationship Era.
How to be sensationally successful in the Relationship Era
Have you ever been talking to someone and noticed that they are only listening so they know when they can start talking? That’s not a conversation. That’s a monologue.
To be sensationally successful in the Relationship Era: Listen. Listen more. Then talk. And then see if the other is still with you. But that’s not all. Are YOU still present in the conversation? Part of trust is presence.
If you want to excel in the Relationship Era, you have two homework assignments.
Homework assignment #1
Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you sincerely present when you’re engaging in a conversation?
- Are your relationships one-sided or collaborative?
- Do you tell people what to do? Or are you working with them and guiding them?
Homework assignment #2
Look at your website. Does it “listen” to your visitors? Or is it just waiting for its turn to talk? To quickly find out, look at your content. Is it all about you? Does it clearly communicate or is it confusing? Here’s an example of a confusing tag line I see on websites all the time: “Our mission is to be number 1 in customer service!” Really? How? Show me! What specifically is in it for me?
If your website is in the Relationship Era, then it is full of content that’s all about your website visitors. It’s “listening” to them. Then guiding them to what brought them to your website in the first place.
If you hate homework or just want to save some time, you can user our free website analysis tool called the Cyber Guide. (Yes, we used “Guide” on purpose) It will show you how strong your website is and guide you to success in the Relationship Era.
To your continued success,