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Today we have a guest post from Brian Solis. Brian is a principal at Altimeter Group, a research-based advisory firm. Solis is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and influenced the effects of emerging media on business, marketing, publishing, and culture. Solis’ latest book is titled, The End of Business As Usual: Rewire the Way You Work to Succeed in the Consumer Revolution. For more information, please visit www.briansolis.com.

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In a post Occupy world, organizations everywhere should contemplate the themes that flooded the undercurrent for one of the greatest consumer uprisings in history. There’s much to learn from the events that might have started in Wall Street to protest high unemployment and corporate greed, the prevailing tenets driving for new opportunities quickly spread to 2,773 Occupy communities in over 82 countries.

While the inspiration for the insurrection is diverse and deeply personal, one thing is clear, everyday people have had enough and collectively, the frustration and discontentment with the state of the economy, socioeconomic equality, and overall consumer disregard by business and government boiled over into a worldwide statement that screamed for action and transformation. We are witnessing the end of business as usual to say the least.

It’s just a matter of time until, in its own way, the driving principles of Occupy take aim at your business or industry. To be honest, whether we realize it or not, the sentiment that contributes to disgruntlement is not new. Signs have been posted everywhere. And now with social media, these symptoms are avoidable only through old world customer service infrastructures or worse, process blindness. Business isn’t changing because of social media, it’s changing because consumer expectations are evolving. Either way, each play a part in heralding what I refer to as Digital Darwinism, an emerging phenomenon when technology and society evolve faster than the ability to adapt.

Listen. Learn. Engage. Adapt.

Today, no company is too big to fail nor too small to succeed. The outcome is driven by an organization’s ability to adapt to market conditions and customer expectations. It’s not a new concept. But what is new is the tremendous journey that organizations must embark upon to get there.

Most business models are rigid, focused on operations, efficiencies, growth opportunities and P&L. This view has worked well for decades. However, now in a new era of digital influence, connected customers, and customers in general, are clamoring to be heard and to become part of the business ecosystem. As a result, leaders must embrace new methodologies, technologies, and systems to engage stakeholders and work together to build a new framework that upgrades the dynamic for stakeholder engagement and collaboration and the resulting experience now and how it’s reinforced over time.

This requires nothing less than the establishment of a dedicated taskforce with an exact mission of transformation. The primary charter is to establish a course for evolution by aligning stakeholders and decision makers around collaboration and decision-making initiatives. It’s not an overnight process. What we are talking about is retrofitting or in some cases re-architecting the foundation to compete in the years to come.

This is done through a four-step rigor that begins internally to have an impact inside and outside the organization. And, as a champion for new possibilities, everything begins with you.

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  1. Listen – Use new media tools to listen beyond keywords and sentiment. Observe trends, insights, and opportunities to improve experiences.
  2. Learn – Build a procedure, with roles and responsibilities, and a path around discovery and innovation. Translate activity into actionable insights and ensure that a two-way path connects business lines and functions back to the market through direct engagement or the improvement of products and services.
  3. Engage – The state of businesses are no longer created, they’re co-created through shared experiences. Stakeholders, including customers and employees, must realize that you’re listening and learning. Engagement is the key to steering and shaping experiences through collaboration. Doing so invests the cultivation of a meaningful community and ultimately loyalty.
  4. Adapt – Customers don’t always know what they want. But, they do know what they don’t want. Everything gleaned from steps one through three reveal everything about how an organization can adapt to earn relevance as part of its everyday business practice. Processes, systems, technology, it’s all rooted in the ability to not just move and react to customer revolutions, but eventually lead them.
  5. This is an opportunity to re-examine relationships with customers and employees to not only avert potential crises, but steer more positive engagement and experiences as part of standard business practices – a new “business as usual” if you will. It starts with listening and learning and culminates with engagement and adaptation.

    This is why your role is more important then ever before. Everything you know and everything you’re learning will help your business or organization mature, increase in relevance, and deliver more significant experiences. The end results are preference, increased loyalty and advocacy, and ultimately connectedness. It’s how you demonstrate the opportunity and the path forward that count for everything. This is your time…

    Be sure to tune into Brian’s webinar with Citrix where he will discuss this and more on Wednesday, January 18th at 11 a.m. PST / 2 p.m. EST.

    Register here: http://t.co/Sw4EqQTF

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  • Marisol

    I have really enjoyed this post as it really hits ‘home’ with my virtual business.  This is our daily life challenges and goals and this is excellent incentive and reinforcement.  Will attend the seminar!