In part one of this series we have explained what eminence is and why we have definitely entered the social age. This second part details why eminence matters, to advance your career and grow your knowledge. Learn why eminence in the social age matters, to you personally and to businesses around you, again with great tips from Katie Keating.

Eminence matters

A great blog post, by Harvard Business Review, lists some tips on how to Get Ahead Without the Corporate Ladder. As we mentioned in part one of the blog series, democratization is making its way and decreasing the importance of the hierarchal ladder. With no ladder to climb, look at career moves differently:

  • Grow your skills. Seek out opportunities to learn — and pounce on them.
  • Prove you can handle the responsibilities.
  • Cast a wider net. Be open to horizontal experience, not just vertical progression.

The first and latter points can be very well achieved using social media channels, casting your net outside traditional boundaries and growing your skills from many sources. Social business thought leader Vala Afshar says, “Google is your resume and social networks are your mass references.” Fostering a community of experts, friends, and resources isn’t just a way to enhance your career–it’s crucial to your career. Even Virgin founder Richard Branson is wondering why more business leaders aren’t online. Stating in his blog post that:

Where possible, everyone within a company should be engaged in what is happening elsewhere within their business, and in the wider world. Social media is a great way to do this. Also, it can furnish a spirit of community, not least amongst global, widespread companies.

The good news is, according to an IDC report from this month, businesses have stated that building online communities around employee expertise is the No. 1 social business initiative for the coming year.

Grow your skills: Staying current

As mentioned, there are many great sources of information out there that stretch the boundaries of your physical network, and even your current organization. Use multiple sources to build your own opinion wisely. One of my personal sources of inspiration for instance in Harvard Business Review, here are the 33 HBR blog posts you should have read in 2012. Another great source is Forbes, for instance the blog post 5 Qualities of Charismatic People.

Tip from Katie: Take an active role when you read or consume content; make note of the topics that interest you and why. Maybe it’s the format, or the venue where they’re published that make them easy to find, or perhaps it’s the writing style.

In my current fields of expertise, cloud computing and IT architecture, it is vital to stay aligned with the latest news, facts and fiction. For this blog sites like Gigaom, Cloud Times, Wired Insights, Infoworld provide good multi-vendor content. A good list of vendor neutral sources are listed in the blog post Beware of fake Clouds! There are also many good sources on Twitter; see for instance the weekly who is who in cloud list or follow @clouderati.

Cast a wider net: Display your eminence

Maybe the best example I can give is my personal journey. As said, I started seriously engaging on social media channels when I switched roles about in Q4 2011. Since than I have written about 50 blog posts, which have been posted on venues like Thoughts on Cloud, Wired Insights, The Atlantic and always my personal blog Writing blog posts forces me to stay up-to-date and allows me to elaborate finding and structure my thoughts.

Next to blogging I’m also active on Twitter and LinkedIn where I share the information found as well as share my own blog posts. My efforts are repaying themselves by getting new opportunities and connections from the increased visibility; I act as speaker or panelist at customers events and congresses and have had many opportunities to converse and learn from peers inside and outside IBM.

And last but not least, I have had the great pleasure to share my knowledge. For instance by doing a master class on cloud computing for master of science and post-graduate students at a university, collaborating in national cloud computing standardization bodies like NEN and Platform Outsourcing Netherlands (PON), and was recently asked by a publisher to author a book.

Tip from Katie: Begin to use the intelligence built after taking the active role in consuming content to shape the way you craft your own thought leadership pieces. Beyond blogging, as Edwin also writes, there are other ways to share your expertise for which you may be well-suited:

– Podcasting (experts say it’s making a strong comeback)

– Video series

– Graphic design/infographics

– Teaching

– Speaking at local in-person meetups

This leads me to my next blog post, the last one of this series. Learn how to take full advantage to improve your eminence using the wealth of social media channels and tools available. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this subject. Just drop me a line or comment to this post.

By Edwin Schouten and Katie Keating. Find out more about Edwin on or follow him via @schoutene, find more wisdom from Katie via @ThingsSheSaid.



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