I was at the gym working out on the treadmill (I know it doesn’t show!) and was watching a HBO movie called Too Big To Fail. The movie, if you haven’t seen it, was about the not so long ago financial crisis and the collapse of the iconic financial institution – Lehmann Brothers. The movie was a frightful reminder of how fast even large icons can get wiped out and it really got me thinking. Do organizations (including agencies) and people (including business leaders) today think they may be too big or too smart to fail thru this digital revolution?
The pervasiveness of technology (Digital, Internet and others) in our lives, the Changing Demographic and the Democratization of Power and Knowledge has changed the world we live in both at home and at work. Despite these obvious mega trends – you still see professionals struggling to convince leaders the need to change and embrace the new millennium. Age old questions/comments are continuing to be asked/made – whether its why change when nothing’s broken, or its too risky going online or we need more newspaper ads so that everyone can see it – there’s a long list. Whilst digital marketing spend is growing with the growth of digital campaigns – the way we do business is not changing. Social business and its emergence has come from the impact of technology on business and consumer behavior. And despite so many different reports and conversations on this topic – it’s still not widely understood or accepted yet. There is so much change taking place around us at an incredible pace. Sony’s recently reported mega loss is just another example of an icon that may disappear if transformational change is not made.
Organizations need to have a change agenda. In fact, change needs to be a part of the organizational culture. A culture where connectedness is important, employees are first, the willingness to take risks to learn by application and then re-applying and execute again (an iterative process) are a way of life and communications are about engagement and experience both with the employees and customers. Developing a change agenda is the first step of acknowledging the birth of a new era of doing business – call it Social Business or otherwise. And this new era of business is coming with a new generation of consumers growing up in a different world valuing very different things from the famous Generation Y. Just like this new group of consumers that are emerging, our existing generation Y are also recognizing they now have increasingly easy access to information, have greater influence and control over virtually a variety of topics including brand image.
And I’ve learnt over time that change takes courage. No matter how old or young you are – it takes guts. You need to have an agenda, and the right people with you on the ride. There are many examples across private businesses and governments where resistance to change have proved to be far more damaging than rewarding. Ultimately, to drive change you can do so from 2 angles – from the point of fear or from the point of inspiration. The choice is yours but if you value the benefit of experience, I suggest you approach it from the point of inspiration – inspire and be inspired. A new era has been born giving birth to a myriad of opportunities and at the same time the threat of irrelevance. The choice is really yours – whether you are a business or an agency!