A big shift is occurring. The way causes are supported, brands are launched and innovations are scaled is evolving from a push to a collective build. Traditional models are no longer enough to yield results. This shift is led by vocal communities that are replacing passive audiences. Those organizations that fail to capture this momentum are destined to be left behind.

In the past, identifying and learning all you can about an audience, then segmenting them for tailored tactics was business as usual. This audience orientation suggests that people are nothing more than their component parts, demographics, traits or frequency of transactional behaviors. In our newly connected world you can no longer tell people what to do, how to act, who to be. Instead you must understand who they are in their complex web of relationships and how your brand or cause relates.

This shift away from observing and quantifying an audience to instead seeing a community requires you to consider their aspirations and how you fit into their future, rather than how they fit into yours. Instead you need to ask what you could be learning from them, how they could help you solve challenges, how you can best support their involvement with you. You become a facilitator, no longer just a provider of a good, service or ideal.

The rewards for making this shift in your internal and external processes will be made clear in increases in retention, brand- or cause-loyalty and innovations of product and practice. Next, we’ll share three steps you can take to spark this shift at your organization.

Charlie is presenting as a Guide at the exclusive SHIFT Summit event in Mountain View, CA June 10-12. SHIFT Summit is combining the compelling storytelling of TED, the digital creativity of Khan Academy, and the intellectual rigor of Harvard Business School.