While a growing percentage of the population are characterized as “knowledge workers,” there remains a distinction between laborers and managers that isn’t discerned simply by their respective places on the org chart, pyramidal or latticed. It’s a distinction born by the way the knowledge worker handles information.
It’s been empirically established that the knowledge worker who brokers information, acting as a hub that connects multiple constituents and collaborators to novel information, is substantially more productive and better compensated than the shoveler who is otherwise engaged in the efficient receiving, considering and sending of messages. This is to say that size and relational depth – think stickiness – of one’s social network is a far more important factor in one’s productivity than the frequency, length or turnaround time on one’s messaging.
In “Harnessing the Digital Lens to Measure and Manage Information Work,” Professors Aral, Brynjolfsson and Alstyne of NYU, MIT and Boston U respectively, write that those workers who were more central to the information flow, or who provided the shortest cut on the path to others, were the most productive and highest paid. Indeed, in their study every additional contact in the working social network represented an additional grand in compensation. People with diverse social contacts were, in this study, proven to be virtually magnetic to novel information, and as a result higher performing players.
As knowledge workers we need to strive to stop shoveling and start brokering. As marketers, we need to know who the brokers are and then bring them something novel.
by Rick Segal
President Worldwide and Chief Practice Officer
Follow Rick on Twitter @MrBtoB
Cross posted at Ignite Something on the Forbes CMO Network