Organisational Agility Blog 3: Market and Customers – listening, learning, changing

In our series on Organisational Agility we talk about the importance of building your capability to continually respond to changes as they emerge. Sometimes the drivers for the change will be outwith your control, and sometimes they are driven by the new stage of growth your businesses is entering. Either way you need to have the flexibility to respond quickly.

Two obvious factors driving your need to change are Markets and Customers

And you need to continually be aware of them, have the capability to track changes within them, and the flexibility to change in response as appropriate.

For example, those supplying into European markets will be well aware of the challenges while transitioning to a post-Brexit world. You will have worked your way through the plethora of guidance to understand the implications for your sector and your business. If you want to continue doing business in that market you have no option but to change. However, what market tracking capability do you have to explore emerging opportunities, like in the case of Brexit the import substitution opportunities?

Similarly changes to regulations can disrupt markets and cause you to re-evaluate your business. Your competitors will also need to address the same regulatory changes, so the ones who win out will be the ones who have the ability to spot an opportunity from the change and flex accordingly. For example, the smoking ban impacted the traditional pubs where smoking and drinking went hand in hand. However more family oriented and health-conscious venues emerged, and businesses involved in vaping gained. Regulatory changes in financial services have been disrupting the sector for many years, challenging the embedded large players to change and fend off competition from innovative fintech businesses.

Markets are of course just places where ‘commercial dealings are conducted’. While these commercial dealings are between businesses, or between businesses and consumers, at its heart are dealings between people. Your business is full of people. Your customers (whether B2B or B2C) are actually people, and people change.

At a broad level we see changes in consumer behaviour – streaming services, restaurant meals at home, ‘no touch’ buying, but we also see changes in the value people are looking for – green, loyalty, prices, quality. The head of procurement in your key customer might not be the same person in a week’s time, and they may have their own preferred suppliers, buying behaviours, or buying channels.

The point is, markets and customers change and your business needs to have the capability to stay current with changes and have the organisational agility to respond quickly to them. Do you know what changes are coming down the track? Do you know how changes might impact your customers? Have you asked? Are you regularly listening, learning, and changing? If not, we suggest you do.

If you have any questions regarding the topics in this blog, please contact Mark Bell.

You can read the next blog in the series here

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