When talking to even seasoned digital marketing folks, I often hear something to the effect of, “The things we did that worked for us on the internet even two years ago are no longer working for us today.”
When I look back at even the past two to three years, things are so radically different in digital marketing now than they were even back then. So then what can I even tell companies starting up right this very moment?
Embrace the chaos.
Back in 2005, the author Thomas Friedman noted in his book, The World Is Flat, that the rate of change today is much different than previously before.
Friedman states, “Whenever civilization has gone through one of these disruptive, dislocating technical revolutions — like Gutenberg’s introduction of the printing press — the whole world has changed in profound ways.”
Friedman further expands, “But there is something different about the flattening of the world that is going to be qualitatively different from other such profound changes: the speed and breadth with which it is taking hold… This flattening process is happening at warp speed and directly or indirectly touching a lot more people on the planet at once. The faster and broader this transition to a new era, the more likely is the potential of disruption.”
This flattening is creating a whole new business environment that is constantly reacting to continuous change.
During the 1990s, the US military started kicking around yet another acronym, particularly the concept of VUCA.
VUCA stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.
Sounds about like our present-day business environment, right?
At the senior leadership level in a lot of large companies, you’re starting to see VUCA become a common topic around business strategy and leadership development. In essence, VUCA is being used by business leaders to describe the chaotic, turbulent, and rapidly changing business environment that has established itself as the “new normal”.
The “new normal” is real. How many traditional business models have been disrupted or even obliterated in the past 5 years?
The financial markets have been a roller coaster ride devoid of any traditional fundamentals. And technology has exploded as a result of a hyper-connected world.
Business has faced the same kinds of turbulent environments similar to that of the military. This new VUCA business environment is straining even the most capable of business owners or executives who are finding their management and leadership skills growing obsolete as quickly as their organizations change.
Agility and adaptability in this volatile, unpredictable landscape are paramount if organizations are to succeed in this VUCA world.
How are you balancing the chaos with your agility and adaptability?