When Lateral is Better Than Vertical

In Candid Christianity: The Blog, my musings by Antwuan Malone

Maybe Jerry Maguire was on to something.

Less clients. More interaction. Those words will get a wily sport’s agent fired, regardless of who’s living room he’s king of. Business is not about people, it’s about “showing me the money!” “It’s not Show-Friends, it’s showbusiness!” Right? It’s about having the biggest, baddest sets of boots and “bestriding the narrow world as a Colossus.” Bigger is better. And if you don’t think so, then, like Jerry, you will be ceremoniously shown the door with Colossus boot sized imprints on your hind parts.

That’s our world.

And then social media hit the scene. Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest. They all gave us permission to think laterally. To be artists. To share lives, emotions, and something more real than the mundane of corporate Monday Morning banter. They gave us permission to move past mere politicized corporate interactions into delicious, 140 character bite sized relationships. As it turns out, we secretly craved those sweet morsels of social interaction, and a new age was born. It’s a New Renaissance we live in, an age of rebirth for the love of art and people. Passion and creativity have never been more premium. Teamwork and the exchanging of ideas have never enjoyed such value. And opportunities to change the world have never been greater.

Connection is the new currency.

In a way, we’ve come full circle. The societies of our grandparents felt like villages and small towns. Everyone knew everyone. Kids ran up and down the same streets. Neighbors checked each others’ mail. They lived together. Worked together. Played together. And some would say their lives were more fulfilling because of it.

The power in that sort of connection is what social media has reintroduced to our society. Social media leverages the power of connection to build and mobilize communities of like-minded people. Communities who are moved and driven by the same passions. Communities who are passionate, supportive  and loyal to each other. Communities who share a greater appreciation for products and brands.

You no longer need the biggest bank account to make an idea work. With enough drive, passion and creativity, one man can change the world with a mobile phone and a few thousand followers.

Leveraging your ability to connect your brand with its most appreciative clients requires a shift in business thinking. The goal is not to grow tall by ascending to the top of the ladder. It is instead about growing wide. It not the image of a king being carried in on the backs of slaves and servants. It is instead the picture of a rock star leaping into the crowd to the throng of outstretched arms waiting to catch him and pass him along.

What would happen if your company jumped out into the crowd?  Would anyone catch you?

The power of community is too great to ignore, the opportunities too many to pass up. Funny thing about Jerry Maguire and his memo was that everyone knew he was right, they were just too afraid to shake up the boat with the perceived naïvety of authenticity and real relational connection. But today, businesses need to take heed. Generation Next is no longer responding to the close-minded hierarchical ways of old, “tall” business. Instead, we stand together in a “wide” new age. Hand in hand. Waiting to engage the world.

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Antwuan Malone is a Ministry Director at ELEVATE Young Adult Ministry (elevateministry.net) where empowers young adults toward Christian leadership. He is passionate about seeing young adults take their place in church history by drawing near enough to God to hear his call on their life, and courageously living in obedience to that call.