Elizabeth Keserauskis

Building relationships and making connections

Agility

After a particularly frustrating series of days working for a state institution, I was reflecting on the concept of agility and how important it is for an organization. More appropriately, I was ranting about how NOT agile a public higher education organization is. So I decided to Google “business agility”. And since Wikipedia is clearly the destination for accurate information (*sarcasm*) and you really should believe everything you read on the Internet (*more sarcasm*), it was only natural to include information from their entry (which, by the way, is cited as Dyer, L. and Ericksen, J. (2009). Complexity-based Agile Enterprises: Putting Self-Organizing Emergence to Work. In A. Wilkinson et al (eds.). The Sage Handbook of Human Resource Management. London: Sage: 436–457.)

Agility is a concept that incorporates the ideas of flexibility, balance, adaptability, and coordination under one umbrella. In a business context, agility typically refers to the ability of an organization to rapidly adapt to market and environmental changes in productive and cost-effective ways.

Where to begin pointing out the ways we are not agile? I often feel like each day I am trying to change the course of a cruise ship with a canoe paddle. All frustration with the business practices required by the State of Illinois aside, let’s focus on the communication side of a business.

We cannot craft messages and responses by committee anymore. The world is moving too fast and the situation will have changed and incorporated more information faster than the statement can be reviewed by 3 of the required 7 people. What about establishing the core values, mission, brand platform and promise, and overarching key messages, and then deputize people to be company ambassadors at all levels?

Also, if your entire communication/sales strategy is based largely on printed material and direct mail, how up-to-date do you think the information is that people will have in their hands? I am not advocating banishing all printed material, as they have a time and place. However I am suggesting that our customers are so much more savvy than ever before and will go to the places where they want to consume information (websites, blogs, social networks, friend networks, etc) rather than try to figure out how a business is trying to force them to consume the information. Meeting the customers where they are looking for information requires agility in a business, and specifically in the marketing and sales areas. It also requires the leaders of both areas to buy into the concept, versus continuing with “the way it has always been done”.

Going back to the Wikipedia entry,

There are several key distinctions between the agile enterprise and the traditional bureaucratic organization. The most notable is the agile enterprise’s use of fluid role definitions that allow for dynamic decision making structures. Unlike the rigid hierarchies characterizing traditional bureaucracies, organizational structures within agile enterprises are more likely to fluidly adapt to changing business conditions into structures that support the current direction and any emergent competitive advantage. (Dyer, L. & Ericksen, J. (2007). Dynamic Organizations: Achieving Marketplace Agility Through Workforce Scalability. In J. Storey (ed.). Human Resource Management: A Critical Text (3rd edition). London: Thomson Learning: 263–280.)

How can we change the state and structure of public higher education (Illinois specifically for my knowledge base) to become more agile? To me that is the new million dollar idea. Wish me luck finding it.

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June 25, 2011 Posted by | communication, higher education, leadership | , , | 2 Comments

What I’m Reading: 8/13-20

The AP Style Guide has recently updated a few things, including “website” versus “Web site”…is Yahoo paving the way for digital communication styles?

Awareness is heightened about crisis communications…here’s an article: The PR Crisis Playbook

More efforts by Facebook to improve image? Facebook Launching Official Live Streaming Channel: Facebook Live

As we design websites for clients, it is always interesting to see how color impacts customer behavior

And ’tis the season: U.S.News and World Report rankings are out. Here are a few articles:

There is a lot of controversy surrounding these and other college rankings. My next post will talk a bit about ways it can help or hurt an institution.

August 20, 2010 Posted by | marketing, public relations, resources | , , , | Leave a comment

What I’m Reading: 8/2-13

A case study on higher education doubling organic traffic and growing lead conversions.

Three ways Facebook is killing your website.

LOVE the 10 BlackBerry Commandments from PINK Magazine!

And a discussion on the death of Google Wave.

August 7, 2010 Posted by | marketing, public relations, resources | , , , | Leave a comment

What I’m Reading

I like to see the Standing Partnership “What We are Reading” list, so I thought I’d borrow that idea, and put my higher education lens on it!

  • We are in the process of hiring graduate assistants in our unit, so I was on the hunt for writing tests! PRSA had a few tips on how to select the best writer for a job.
  • Obviously, we are dealing with the millenials, Gen Y, whatever you wish to call them today. Many of us are hiring them at our workplaces. The Wall Street Journal published a very interesting article examining what a disservice social networking is doing for them as they enter the corporate world: Why Gen-Y Johnny Can’t Read Nonverbal Cues.
  • Is blogging really good for your business? Hubspot quantifies an aspect of the ROI of blogging for you! Hint: small businesses that blog have 55% more website visitors!

July 30, 2010 Posted by | higher education, marketing, resources | , , , | Leave a comment

A Few of My Favorite Marketing Resources… What Are Yours?

A friend recently asked me for suggestions of books she could read to help freshen her marketing skills, and bring them up to the bleeding edge of the social media marketing/technology/SEO/SEM world. So I responded to her via email, and then thought I might as well share my thoughts here as well.

My first reaction to that question is that the technology and user interfaces are changing so quickly that books teaching applications almost immediately become obsolete when they are published. There are a few that address theory and approach that are applicable whether there is a shiny new technology object.

My favorite book:
The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, 2nd Edition by David Meerman Scott (amazon affiliate link). This has helped me re-frame the way I approach marketing drastically.

Next up on my reading list (after the mindless, yet terribly entertaining, crap I am currently reading):

Tribal Knowledge: Business Wisdom Brewed from the Grounds of Starbucks Corporate Culture by John Moore (amazon affiliate link). This came highly recommended to me by a new colleague as I am navigating the new waters of radio station management.

Also, blogs I follow include Mashable, Jay Baer’s Convince and Convert, David Meerman Scott’s Web Ink Now, Sysomos for research, Dan Zarella, and Marijean Jaggers.

Google has a whole slew of free training videos for Google Analytics and Google Adwords. The Analytics for Dummies book may still be useful, but they keep changing the interface of both so books quickly become obsolete. I’d use the free online tools.

LinkedIn groups I belong to: Web 2.0 for Higher Education, Marketing Profs, the Social Media Marketing Group, Southern IL Marketing and Communications. Connect with me if we haven’t already: linkedin.com/in/BethKeserauskis.

July 19, 2010 Posted by | engaging, marketing, social media | , , , , , | Leave a comment