Life moves too fast for too much structure

In the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Ferris addresses the audience, breaking the fourth wall, and says, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. ”

Problem is, we don’t have time to stop any more because if we do, the world spins away from us.

So, what do we do about this?

Back at the start of 2006, the extended marketing team I was part of started to create a marketing council that brought together those of us working in what was already a distributed marketing group. The council was designed to share ideas and keep each other up-to-date.

What was interesting, in hindsight, was that the team wasn’t fragmented, which is what we suspected at the time.

Instead, it was already starting to reflect a new reality, which was that traditional corporate structures were struggling to keep up with a world already becoming more flexible and lighter on its feet.

So even as we conceived of and started to organise and run the first meetings of this nascent marketing council, we found that projects, corporate evolution, market demands and more moved too fast. Everything moved ahead of the council, and ended up accelerating away from it.

The council folded in on itself, but our work continued. Our internal customers received the services and support they required and needed. Our corporate colleagues were comfortable with what we delivered. We successfully positioned the company to the external market.

My point? Don’t confuse rigid corporate structure with the structure you do need to be successful. Work out how to create a flexible organisational matrix that helps set policy and define just the right amount of process, and then expect to change it often.

And don’t take too long. Start with one that works, and change as you need to. You’ll never get to the start line if you try to nail it in one go.

About alansmithoz

Head of Strategic Business Communications at Australian social analytics technology company Digivizer, with a background in corporate public relations and marketing. I do what I do because I believe communications can make a difference.
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One Response to Life moves too fast for too much structure

  1. Mark Hubble says:

    OK – let me hijack part of this if I may and pick up on the second paragraph as it struck a chord today.

    I live my life according to the theory of Relative Motion.

    I am part of the greater whole we call our world. I move relative to my world and if I do indeed “stop” as you say, I in actuality “keep moving” and this is a very comforting thought (possibly only for the more simple minded such as myself).
    Viewed from different frames of reference, it may seem that I am not moving at all or indeed going backwards. The classic example of throwing a ball in the air and catching it when riding on a train which is travelling in a straight line and at a constant speed of 200km/h is indeed not a difficult task. When viewed from outside of the train it may appear like a circus trick. Go one step further and apply all of your energy and throw the ball as hard and fast as you can from the front of the carriage to the back and no matter how hard you try – from out side of the train the ball if still going forwards.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating a free ride, but perhaps we should be less concerned with how we think we may be moving relative to others and afford ourselves the luxury of enjoying the view.

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