October 1, 2013

Future by Design: Business Brand Culture

1-INSPIRATION

Whether Australia has officially been hit by the recession, that has plagued US and many European countries, depends on who you are talking to. The fact is, we have our own set of troubles brewing. This is how it looks from where I stand; and you may agree or passionately disagree.

Fact #1: The joy-ride of resources boom is over.

Fact #2: In general, our manufacturing sector is under a cloud.

Fact #3: Talking about cloud, our IT sector is not exactly harvesting ‘Apples’.

Fact #4: Australian Productivity and Innovation are sadly lagging behind the rest of the developed world.

Fact #5: Our education, despite many initiatives, is still looking, blind-folded, for a bridge to meet future needs of the nation on all critical levels.

It is important to understand that the above facts are just symptoms. The problem behind these symptoms, and causing them, is perhaps complex but in my opinion, has a single point of origin. Let’s call it Mr Magoo syndrome for the moment, someone blindly plodding without looking forward or thinking about consequences.

The good news is that a solution is available and staring us in the face.

The best leaders, artists and writers are Visionaries. Did you know that J.K. Rowling had the whole story of Harry Potter, over his seven years at Hogwarts, mapped out in her head before she put pen to paper?

Cheshire CatRemember that profound conversation between Alice and the Cheshire Cat?

Alice: “How do I get out of here?”

Cat: “Where do you want to go?”

Alice: “I don’t much care.”

Cat: “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go. Every path will get you there.”

OK, luck plays a part in it but our Future is almost always of our own design and actions. And, it all starts with the purpose in mind.

Every Australian business and Australia, as a country, need to find their own Vision. It’s quite simple. But first, we need to admit the problem. How many businesses have a meaningful Vision that engages employees and puts a clear message of purpose and valuable differentiation in the Customers minds?

One positive thing that can be said about ‘central’ economies is that they look at a bigger picture for their countries and people and that gives them power. Free education for example, has produced a couple of generations of highly qualified and skilled people in former Soviet bloc countries of central Europe.

So, here is InnoFuture’s 5-ingredient recipe for enduring success for Leaders, Enterprise and Country. Start cooking!

1. Leaders and Managers must start with the Purpose in mind – Vision.

Future is moving from logical to emotional. In fact, it has always been about feelings and emotions, but we forgot it through the euphoria of ‘enlightenment’ and technological discoveries of the past 150 years. And we have really been duped by the rollercoaster of internet, IT and social media in the past 20 years. We are drowning in ‘information’, but one thing is conspicuous by its absence: real, purposeful communication.

2. Leaders must build Brand ‘love’ and commitment from within.Love

Just think: how can you engage customers if your own people are not engaged and don’t believe in the Value you claim to deliver. This is where the traditional approach to Marketing has arrested. Today, Leaders must be the evangelists of the Brand Culture: what the organisation stands for, what makes it special and what attracts best people to be part of this Culture (employees, customers and partners).

3. Business and Government Leaders must simplify the approach to ‘strategy’.

Any strategy that takes more than three months to develop and then needs another 3-6 months to be translated for action is what kills productivity, innovation and stuns any chance of growth. Today, Strategy needs to be a broad but clear direction supported by a few Non-Negotiables that guide all activities and decisions towards the goal, ensuring Value creation in the process of constant change and adaptation.

4. Leaders must cultivate collaboration.

The most successful entrepreneurs ask these three questions: 1. What do I want to achieve? 2. What stands between me and my goal? 3. Who is already doing it so I can get there faster?

Collaboration today is no longer about rigid supply chains, connected end to end, passing the baton along, without prior or future responsibility for the common outcomes. Collaboration in the agile 21st century looks a lot like the Social Media model: many-to-many-connections and is based on content co-creation and win-win-win. In this Model employees need to be connected across silos in Purposeful networks to leverage all knowledge, resources and thinking.

5. Leaders must lead and nurture learning.Cartoons-Quality

The patriarchal era of control and command is over. This must not be confused with strong leadership, but in modern and democratic societies, people tend to think “if it’s good for the goose, it’s good for the gander”. Or not! Why should I apply ‘lean’ if our CEO is not seen doing it or explaining to me personally why it is important? Leaders must be in the centre of learning what is important to the Brand.

 

Hey, I have used the term Business Brand liberally in this post. If you think this is just marketing ‘speak’ and don’t understand the importance of the Brand concept to business profitability and growth, contact me immediately via LinkedIn. MM

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Jojo-half image InnoFuture provides innovative business culture transformation services to progressive, Small-Medium organisations. Sign up for our In-Crowd list to connect to the global innovation community; attend our events or contact us for urgent help and take the 1st step to making your  organization be more focused, more differentiating and more competitive.

 

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