You were sitting astride a high performing enterprise.
Results kept coming in relatively better than many of your peers.
But business was tough and keeping up with changing customer needs was a huge challenge.
The cost of regulation had taken its toll on the bottom line. Directly, and indirectly through the pressure on your executive team.
You’d heard things about the social enterprise.That word “social” was bandied around by your Comms and Marketing departments, but those peers of yours weren’t doing anything singularly obvious yet and you already had plenty on your plate.
You vaguely recall sanctioning a couple of pilots. A few below-radar experiments.
But mostly you ignored it. All of it.
Keeping your attention on your existing business and your legacy issues.
And that felt comfortable. And safe.
And the buzz around social seemed to die out.
Because your executives didn’t believe you’d be interested, so they mostly stopped talking to you about it. Because they knew that you would dismiss their proposals.
And you did.
And this was one thing you definitely did right.
Because they were a weak response from a management team that knew they were meant to be doing something, but too afraid to do it for the whole business and unwilling to risk it together.
A poor excuse for what should have been done in the first place.
They were just scratching the surface.
Too trivial for the incumbents to ignore.
Too weak to truly change the way you did business.
Too shallow to be perceived by customers as authentic.
That’s the moment it all started to change. From then on down it was too difficult to slow the decline. Everything that had made your business strong in times of incremental change now made it vulnerable when facing rapid disruption.
You went from plotting your “journey through the jaws” to facing a pincer movement of challenger startups on one side and radical incumbents on the other. The challengers each had a unified vision and relentless focus on service and experience. The handful of incumbents realised they had nothing – and everything – to lose.
Internally, you found it harder to motivate, to engage, to recruit and retain the right people. Those who were best placed to carry your business into the future. You had been focused on creating a legacy – but the legacy business was inflexible and unresponsive.
Externally, you found it harder to develop and maintain meaningful client relationships.
The lack of an authentic strategy for social business alienated an entire generation of clients – even as you courted their elders as your platinum targets.
If you could go back now, what would you do differently?