Does Social Media Fuel Agility?

by Jay Deragon on 10/18/2009

business agilityIn business, agility means the capability of rapidly and cost efficiently adapting to changes. Agile companies make more money with less resources and lower costs

C.K. Prahalad writes in a Business Week column “In Volatile Times, Agility Rules” Flexible capacity and worker skills are essential, but in a context of strategic clarity.

Over the years managers have developed tools and techniques to overcome challenges ranging from inconsistent quality to stagnant productivity. (Think Six Sigma, Total Quality Management, and just-in-time supply chains.) Now what they need is a system for addressing volatility.

Changes in consumer sentiment, such as “going green” or shunning conspicuous consumption, can rewrite established patterns of demand in a remarkably short time–just ask automakers. Volatility is here to stay.

What this does is force managers to harmonize two critical capabilities: on the one hand, strategic clarity and consistency; on the other, agility and resilience in operations. This may seem counterintuitive, but organizations can handle extreme change only when they can address it within a clear strategic framework. Otherwise, companies can only wait and react.

What Is Fueling The Need For Agility?


One word, Volatility! Volatility is the measure of the state of instability. Instability implies constant states of change. When things change the basis of your business assumptions change. In other words what you assume to happen or to be true is no longer true and your old assumptions are invalid.

If you haven’t noticed our world is very volatile. From entire markets collapsing to entire age old  institutions collapsing everything is changing rapidly.

Just think about the shifts in media influence. Social media is rapidly becoming a major  source of influence. While Television and print media still create influence social media is quickly rising at a rate of interest and rate of change increase faster than any other medium.  When communications shift, and social media is communications, everything changes because communications is what drives an economy.

The Need For Speed

Remember that agility means the capability of rapidly and cost efficiently adapting to changes. If a crowd and the media  forms outside your business and demonstrates against your product or practices the urgency is to address both the crowd and the issues effectively and efficiently.  In essence social media represents “crowds” discussing everything and everyone. Guess what? A lot of things and many people have  influence over your market, your brand and the now all these people are talking about all these things and doing so in “crowds”.

Today people’s expectations have risen and the baseline expectation is to be heard. Don’t believe it? Ask many of the Fortune 500 why they monitor social media so much. Why? Because they want to know what people are saying about their brands, their experiences and how many people are listening. Why? Because volatility is fueled by communications and unless your listening don’t be surprised when the things you weren’t expecting begin to change.

The winners won’t stop focusing on building great products with great people, but they’ll be paying a lot more attention to making quick adjustments based on the markets of conversations. In this volatile world, more and more companies will strive to become “agile”  where speed of change separates the winners from the losers.

What say you?

{ 11 comments }

Chuck Schuele October 19, 2009 at 12:55 pm

RT @JDeragon Does Social Media Fuel Agility? | The Relationship Economy…… http://retwt.me/14F4e

Chuck Schuele October 19, 2009 at 7:55 am

RT @JDeragon Does Social Media Fuel Agility? | The Relationship Economy…… http://retwt.me/14F4e

Red Cube Marketing October 19, 2009 at 6:40 am

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Jonathan Saint-John October 19, 2009 at 6:28 am

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Jolt Social Media October 18, 2009 at 11:37 pm

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Joy Webber October 18, 2009 at 3:51 pm

RT @AchieversNet// Does Social Media Fuel Agility?: http://bit.ly/25DcI6

The Social CEO October 18, 2009 at 7:43 am

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Alltop October 18, 2009 at 6:31 am

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Angela Suddarth October 18, 2009 at 6:21 am

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Martin October 18, 2009 at 6:20 am

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Brendan McManus October 18, 2009 at 6:20 am

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