“Care a little more.
Tell the truth.
Seek the truth behind the story.
Ask the difficult question.
Lend a hand.
Dance with fear.
Play the long game.
Say ‘no’ to hate.
Look for opportunities, especially when it seems like there aren’t any left.
Risk a bigger dream.
Take care of the little guy.
Offer a personal insight.
Build something magical.
Keep your promises.
Do work that matters.
Sign your work.
Be generous for no reason.
Give the benefit of the doubt.
Make your mom proud.
Play by a better set of rules.
Choose your customers.
Choose your reputation.
Choose your future.
Thank the ref.
Because we can.
It really is up to us. Which is great, because we’re capable of changing everything if we choose.
All we can do is all we can do, but maybe, all we can do is enough.”
The future of marketing is leadership.
- Seth Godin
I was inspired to write this after reading a recent Seth Godin post where he asks the question:
Are you doing this to get people to do what’s good for them or what’s good for you?
I think we all want to think we act altruistically and with our stakeholders best interests at heart; nevertheless, it’s a valuable practice to re-evaluate what we are doing and why we are doing it – and what stakeholders we might be favoring with our actions. This is what a board does – or should do – when it takes decisions.
Embed from Getty Images
At the management level, if we make a decision to launch a new product or service into a new market like Colombia, we are probably doing it to provide value to new clients in a new market. The client might be grateful to have another option to choose from or a new service that wasn’t available before in Bogotá or easy to access from his/her vacation home in Cali. This is common sense.
But what happens when you change status quo? When you “throw your weight around” as Seth Godin says. That’s when the importance of real alignment with organization mission (and what your customers value) comes into play. As Godin says are you changing pricing, technology or policies because “it’s good for the organization, because it raises quarterly earnings,” or because it’s good for the customer. Are you making decisions to delight the customer and to bring positive change to your community?
There’s no way of pleasing all people all of the time but if you are making changes in line with your core values and what your followers and clients value about you, this mean you are leading your stakeholders to change for their benefit, not forcing them to change for yours.
I came across this amazing video of Seth Godin’s over the weekend. It’s a great mix of classic Seth Godin (tribes, being “weird”, the entrepreneur/empresario) with doing business in a connected world. I found the following particularly interesting…
Godin describes the triangle of the connected world. We need Strategy, Implementation of Strategy as well as “Caring Enough to Fail” in order to create value, a following, and a company that matters. Oftentimes, our organizations get too big or too busy to question the status quo or care enough about experimenting and doing something that might fail. If we don’t care enough to fail how might we know what we are capable of and what our customers want and need?
In Latin America, I find organizations have a strategy and people to implement it but are set on what works rather than experimenting with failure ahead of the bell curve. How can we change this? Perhaps by leveraging connections and unexpected connections between things – and what is that? Innovation.
So this is the video that inspired me over the weekend to continue to tell meaningful stories to people who share (or will share) our views/concerns/needs. Let’s care enough to fail, be generous with ideas and…make them work through strategy and implementation.
The most important concepts in business are timeless. That’s why Peter Drucker’s articles and books are as relevant today as they were when he wrote them twenty to forty years ago. Questions pondering the goal of business, how leaders paint a vision, or why small changes make a company innovative are timeless. Industries may change but the timeless concepts do not.
When we confuse timeliness with timelessness we have a problem. Timeliness is “occurring at a suitable or opportune time” while timelessness is “unaffected by time”. Both can occur simultaneously but one should not substitute the other. Both are important but we need to know when to be timely and when to be timeless.
Concepts are timeless; actions are timely. Ideas are timeless; plans are timely.
If we confuse timelessness with timeliness we could be in the danger of going nowhere – endlessly asking why or trying to perfect the product and never “shipping it” as Seth Godin would say.
If we makes decisions based purely on timeliness we might regret those decisions in the long run when our haste to get results or take action should have been tempered with some strategic thinking, or understanding our customer better, or going the extra mile for our stakeholders or jumping to another innovation curve.
We need to distinguish between what is timeless and what is timely. Two great quotes to end today’s post:
“Time doesn’t seem to pass here: it just is.”
JRR Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Make use of time, let not advantage slip.
Some classic Seth Godin for your Saturday!
I’m a huge Peter Drucker fan and with my participation in the upcoming global forum in Vienna, I am reading blogs, HBR articles and books about Drucker’s contribution to management, leadership and organizational effectiveness.
This post is about culture and strategy but from a consultant or sales perspective – let me explain.
If you are asked by a client or potential client to help them create a video, campaign or branding strategy to influence a change or action that goes against cultural norms (whether organization or society) – should you do it?
I think that culture will always trump strategy if they are opposed. As Peter Drucker is rumored to have said:
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” …or lunch or over lunch for that matter!
A few months ago, I read an interesting article by Seth Godin and in it, he touches on how a movie to stop people from driving and texting (or using their smartphone) isn’t going to solve the problem because it is competing against several cornerstones of “our culture” (referring to Western culture I assume). Godin states:
•The culture of the car as a haven, a roving office, and a place where you do what you like
•The culture of the Marlboro man, no speed limiters in cars, ‘optional’ speed limits on roads
•The culture of connection and our fear of being left out
•The culture of technology, and our bias to permit it first and ask questions later
And he advises in this same article that “if you get a marketing assignment where you’re out to change even one of these deeply held beliefs, consider finding a new client. All four? There’s no marketing lever long enough to do this work.”
Cultural norms are so strong that even the best marketing strategy might not work. While this may be frustrating it opens up an even bigger opportunity to consider:
A marketing (or business) strategy that goes along with cultural norms of society or of an organization, is almost certain to be amazingly successful.
So, going back to the question I posed at the beggining of this blog: should you take on a marketing assignment that goes against cultural norms? I would suggest rethinking the marketing strategy – not necessarily stepping out of the box but working within it to find a solution that uses culture to the best advantage in promoting or telling a compelling story.
Culture or strategy? Why not both?