8Agile, Real-Time Social Service

There's no doubt we're living in a real-time world. News updates appear instantly on news sites from media properties like the BBC, CNN, Mashable, and Wired magazine. Newspapers around the globe update their sites as news breaks, not just based on the 24-hour daily newspaper printing cycle of the past. Now it's a 24-second news cycle. Or shorter. We communicate to friends, colleagues, and family members instantly through tools like text messaging and Skype as well as via social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. When was the last time you put pen to paper to communicate to a friend?

If your colleague gets a new job, you learn about it in real time on LinkedIn. If your friend changes his or her status on Facebook to “in a relationship,” everyone knows right away (and comments instantly).

Embracing Change

However, most companies are reluctant to embrace this change. Many still operate as if a letter sent overnight via FedEx is the height of speed.

Most organizations favor steady qualities like compliance, caution, and consensus over speedy traits like imagination, initiative, and improvisation. That's the nature of the beast. Big business is designed to move forward according to plan, at a measured and deliberate pace.

I've talked with people all over the world who are wrestling with the challenge, and most are not at all comfortable with adopting a real-time mind-set for dealing with customers. It's not on the corporate agenda or ...

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