The Strategy of Fast, Fluid, and Flexible

by Jay Deragon on 01/16/2013

Nilofer-Obituary-for-traditional-strategy What if your organization is pursuing strategies that died years ago?  What if your strategic thoughts are not relevant to dynamic changes in the markets you serve? The answers: you lose!

In the old days strategy was developed inside out and top down. Strategic development was something the Big did while the small couldn’t afford the time or luxury of resources needed to develop a strategy. It took lots of time and data to develop a strategy and markets didn’t change unless the BIG strategy created the change. Strategy was more about taking more of the same space rather than creating a new space.

Today markets change rapidly and with the constant influx of new technology the speed of change is accelerating.  The dynamics of change are no longer driven by suppliers rather from the marketplace of conversations. The number one influence over market dynamics are conversations co-created, distributed and consumed by the human network.  The conversations are providing a collective influence which the BIG are having difficulty reacting to because of the inherent bureaucracy created by the old rules of business.  The old rules and old strategies are obsolete for today’s dynamic and demanding marketplace.

Scale Is Not About Size But Speed

The old theories about strategy were based on an assumption that size was an important factor to scale (growth). In today’s marketplace of real-time expectation for answers, service or simply being heard speed trumps size any day of the week.  You can’t fake speed with marketing messages (Comcast cares) then ruin your brand with service experiences that fundamentally tells the customer you don’t care about their time. You can have the largest call center in the world but if your organization can’t quickly fix or eliminate the underlying problem you’re wasting their time and yours.

Old theories about strategy are being replaced with new theories that emphasize an organizations ability to be fast, fluid and flexible.  The new strategic theory represents a shift from scale in size to scale in speed in order to gain a bigger size of the markets attention and subsequently the markets transactions.

You can be BIG has long as you can sustain the speed of fast, fluid and flexible. To be fast fluid and flexible you have to think about strategy in an entirely new context. The context of the Social Era.

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