The Olympics are right around the corner and while I'm not sure if anyone has done any studies on this, I have a feeling that as people sit on their couches watching Shaun White and others do amazing things in the snow, they wonder if they too could do those amazing things. I wonder how many go out on the slopes or in their backyards just assuming that since it looks so easy, they should be able to do it too and dive right in and end up doing more harm then good.
Now, I'm sure you laughed a little at the absurdity of that, but I'm watching it happen every day in the business world.
The power and ease of use that the Internet gives anyone to begin using it is tempting. Spend a few hours signing up for a few accounts and suddenly you are the next movie mogul or Pulitzer Prize winning author. Guess what though? It takes a lot more then just that to become either one of these. It takes a lot more for your business to use these tools to be a success.
Back to the Olympics for a moment. We'll watch four people jump into a sled and rocket down the bobsled track. Do you honestly believe that if you and three of your friends jumped into a sled without practice, skills and training that you'd actually make it down the hill in one piece? But, yet every day companies are assuming that social media and online communities are just waiting for them to show up and that they can achieve success immediately out of the gate.
Today's world of marketing, sales and customer services online are not that easy. Sure, it looks easy from the outside when it is being done right, but as someone who has worked with the smallest of start-ups to the largest brands in the world, I can tell you that this is anything but easy work.
Being successful involves detailed planning, solid strategic thinking, a long term vision and a bit of luck. That ice is slippery out there and you never know when a slip is coming and you have to be ready for it. Plus, things move faster then you have ever seen them move before and you need to be sure that you are working with people who can move at that speed as well.
I want everyone to get in the sled and feel the rush of wind in their hair. But, I want everyone to do it smart and with as few casualties as possible.
Don't be the idiot that makes the headlines. You've got too much riding on it.