Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Greatest Compliment......

I ever received in my professional life was while working at IBM as a global marketing manager in the consumer division. The comliment - "How is it you seem to be the only one around here who ever gets anything done!" was uttered by a colleague who was among the myriad of people who allowed themselves to be frustrated by the system. Sure it was arcane, confusing, illogical and at times hostile, but somehow I managed to quietly find the right people to work with and the right words to use to make things move. Sometimes I think it's more an art than a science, but in large organizations I've learned that the first order of business is figuring out who the people are that can make things happen, what their agendas are and how to best play to their needs. It's the art of office politics and I guess I play them well, even though I generally hate them (and am really hating them these days).

Marketing Schemes

I got this one from the Tom Peters Summit this past December in Vermont. Tom was talking about the importance of companies developing "marketing schemes" instead of marketing plans. Marketing plans tend to be very static and are either followed to the letter, despite the dynamic nature of the marketplace, or are developed and put in a binder on a shelf where they look nice, take up a lot of space and do nothing to help your business succeed. A "marketing scheme" on the other hand, by its very name implies that it is dynamic and includes more than just some standard set of marketing "deliverables". So ask yourself; "what is my marketing scheme?" it may be the best thing you ever did.

Technicolor Worlds: Pleasantville in the Office

Lisa came up with this one a while back, but I think it is one of the best business analogies I've heard in a long time. Remember the movie Pleasantville where in the beginning everyone in town was living in their own secure, perfect world. Never changing from day to day, with little perspective beyond the edge of town and with very little desire to see what was over the next hill. Well how many of us work in companies that have a similar feeling. They use the past to define the present and have very little vision for the future, other than re-doing the same programs and projects that they have always done. Afterall these have always been successful.
Unfortunately, for them, the world is not a black and white place. It evolves and changes in sometimes unpredictable ways that can dismay people who live in their black and white worlds. To help companies get out of this rut you need to bring in some color. Different perspectives, new ways of doing things, outside-in thinking and disruption of the norm can all lead to a technicolor breakthrough.
In Pleasantville it took some new characters with different perspectives to bring color into their world. Can you bring color to your black and white world? Sure you can. Read, listen and learn. Attend conferences, meet outside experts and bring them in to talk with people in your company. Find examples of best practices from other companies and pin them up on your walls, doors or in hallways. Pass articles out at staff meetings. Finally, look for the people in your organization who are already in color and work together to make more of your organization glow in technicolor.
If you work in a stagnant environment make this one of your objectives: Bring Technicolor perspective to your Black and White World! Start today.

Fear and Lothing in Corporate America

"To live a creative life we must lose our fear of being wrong" - Joseph Chilton Pierce

"The level of wussiness increases exponentially the higher one goes in an organization" - Tom Peters

Why is it that in cortporate America today these two phrases soo true and yet never listened to? Look at the most successful companies, organizations and governments throughout history and you will find little in common with them. Apple has no fear of pushing the design envelope becomes a trend setter and turns the rest of the consumer tech industry into followers.