When you hear something often enough, it starts to become gospel. Cases in point:

— The cloud lets us work anytime, anywhere.

— Social media is fundamentally changing the ways in which we communicate and collaborate.

That’s all true, but it’s not the whole truth. It’s not even the most important truth.

Here’s the most important truth:

New tools like the cloud and social media level the playing field. They let the little guys compete with the big guys in areas like recruitment, business development, and thought leadership. Not long ago, corporate behemoths held huge advantages over smaller organizations in these areas. Today, everyone has access to the same communication and IT tools, and that changes the game completely.

Any organization can be world-class today,” says American Society of Association Executives tech god Reggie Henry. “The price of being significant and relevant is dropping … but the trade-off is this: We have to think differently.”

Specifically, we need to quit thinking within the confines of what we can afford. Think instead about whether or not we can afford to NOT do these things.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology,” Sir Arthur Charles Clarke once said, “is indistinguishable from magic.” And as Henry told the crowd at the 2014 Annual Convention of the National Association of Black Accountants, we all have access today to sufficiently advanced technology.

“I don’t want my staff to worry about inconsequential stuff,” Henry said. “Outfit your staff so they can work without thinking about doing work.”

In other words, put them in the cloud. Make them more social. Let them use the tools that will have them playing at the same level as the big guys.

Think about that for a second: What is that worth?

What’s it worth to your business to be recruiting employees and clients from a global pool? What’s it worth to your career to be learning from an ever-growing network of really smart people?

I’m not sure we can put a price on it, but it’s worth a lot — almost as much as the cost of not doing any of this stuff at all.

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