I happened to be talking on the phone today with my son (a collage junior) about letters he needed to get out for summer internships. While we were talking, I received the periodic update email that LinkedIn sends out (yes, I was multi-tasking…).
The headline on the email told me that my son had added a new job to his profile, the internship he completed in Shanghai last month. I laughed and told him I was going to click through to get the latest news on him. Once I clicked, LinkedIn prompted me to endorse his skills. Hmm, I said, don’t think an endorsement from your mother is all that valuable.
He said that he wasn’t sure he liked this endorsement thing anyway. I replied that he should like it because it was the kind of thing we are doing in our new company. Our ICounts Graph is a corporate version of this—giving names and structure to the intangible side of business. The LinkedIn Endorsement is naming your personal skills and expertise and then measuring it by how many people (and who) endorse you. And, no your mother doesn’t count. But the sum total of it becomes an economic graph of your professional skills.
Then he started to get it. He told that that he had been flattered when the high school faculty advisor from Model Congress had endorsed his leadership and public speaking skills. Others had done the same. I said imagine how it will look when the people that you approach about an internship check out your profile. And think how strong your resume will be over time as different people give weight to the storyline of your career.
If you get this concept, start thinking about what would happen if your customers and suppliers and partners and community created an economic graph of your company’s intangibles? All of a sudden, it would be clear to everyone (inside and outside your company) how you are doing and what your potential is. This may sound scary at first but it's inevitable. And, if you do a good job, all of a sudden your efforts will be visible. You can say to customers and bankers and investors and potential partners and employees, "Yes, this is who we are and we want you to be part of it."
That’s what we’re doing over at Smarter-Companies. Hope you'll join us!