Will The Business People Please Stand Up?

I don’t care about social media gurus or experts or mavens or whatever. That whole thing is going to settle itself out eventually, when the good work starts getting more concrete, and the people actually doing the work continue demonstrating and illustrating their learnings and results.


What concerns me far more than some nerd slinging his Facebook skillz around the fishbowl is the fact that in so many disciplines – social media included – we’ve got legions of people out there that are missing fundamental business acumen.

What we need desperately?

People who can craft coherent, clear correspondence that has proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

People who know how a budget is put together, and the difference between profit, costs, and revenue.

People who know the differences between marketing, branding, and public relations, and how they all tie together.

People who can put together a simple plan for getting from A to B, complete with goals and objectives, and explain it to someone else.

People who can see how different areas of the business work together to form a systematic operation.

People who have basic customer service skills like patience, politeness, helpfulness, and common courtesy.

People who know how to communicate clearly, collaborate on projects, and manage people positively.

People who can admit what they don’t know, and seek knowledge or help.

People who can engage in intelligent discourse and discussion instead of self-aggrandizing rants.

Looking back over the list, I suppose I’m illustrating more than a lack of business skills, but also a lack of communication and interpersonal skills. We’re so spoiled by all the information coming to us with a few keystrokes, and we’re losing the ability to synthesize it ourselves and articulate it to someone else.

Filter out the people that lack the majority of these abilities, and you’ve solved a great deal of the guru problem right out of the gate. The businesses that earn progress will apply those filters for themselves. The ones that don’t have problems far larger than their social media expert choices.

At the moment, I’m frustrated. But I’m working on some constructive solutions to try and help solve this problem rather than just whining about it (more on that here soon).

But seriously? The “expert” discussion is only happening with fervor inside the fishbowl it affects. Out there, where the business and economy is moving forward and progress is being made, it’s not more qualified social media gurus that they need.

They need better, more professional, more equipped business people. Not just MBAs on paper, but those with applied knowledge and practice. It’s about time we stopped slinging our internet prowess, and instead spent some time understanding and honing the part we play in the bigger picture.

If you have these business skills, please flex them. Share them. Absorb more. Apply them and teach others. Please.

I promise those are my last words on the expert discussion. I’m all done with that tired subject. Instead, this blog and other projects I’m tinkering with will be focused on not just social media, but on building better business. Better thinking, culture, planning, and idea execution. The stuff that moves not just needles, but mountains.

I’m learning too, and I’m watching and absorbing all the time. But I see something bigger. Do you?

image by apesara

4 thoughts on “Will The Business People Please Stand Up?

  1. Excellent post, Amber. Thank you for making some great points, and quite succinctly, I might add 🙂

    Some may consider them as “nothing new” …. And that is the point. It is not new, but why do we have so few, who epitomize some of these must-have traits?

    Those who cannot adapt to the rapidly changing ecology, led by the real-time democratization of information, and opinions, will falter, and most likely, wither away.


  2. This is an excellent, and timely post Amber. I will have a post coming out this week that completes a Project Management series, and I must say that it emphasizes most of the skills that you point out here. In our increasingly digital world, the ‘soft-skills’ required to craft appropriate strategies and then to execute are becoming harder to find. It’s about more than a fancy social media presence and some tweeting. We need business people with real skills, who can develop real relationships and get things done.

  3. Amber, I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes one of the most popular posts on this blog!

    Having been in “business” for over 26 years, with 16 years in marketing and hitech, I have worked with many professionals who lack the rudimentary skills to “do business”.

    I’ve seen unskilled sales reps earning more then they should and highly skilled field engineers earning less than they deserve.

    Fortunately, I have also worked with (and learned from) people who have helped me hone and improve my business skills.

    There are two things I think happening that give me hope that more business professionals will take skill and knowledge development more seriously.

    First, there are people out there that are showcasing their abilities using social media as a channel to do so. These people are putting themselves “out there” and sharing their knowledge and becoming “thought leaders”. They are sharing their experiences. More and more business professionals will be pressured to have some form of online presence in order to be taken seriously.

    Second, the people that will get ahead are the ones that want to learn and know more. The ones that ask the questions: why, how, who and what. The ones that yearn to know more and share what they learn. If you don’t have a learning mindset you will be left behind.

    Where do we go from here?

    There are haves and have nots in social media land (business in general as well) when it comes to skills. My belief is we need to all help each other get better.

    Also, nobody is perfect and it’s ok to make mistakes. There will be times when a new blogger will misspell something in a blog post. The first posts by a future thought leader may be poorly written. Someone will accidentally send a retweet out they didn’t mean to.

    We need to let people get their legs, take risks and be encouraged to do so. They should, however, aspire to get better, learn and share what they know and become better at what they do as a result.

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