We covered a lot of material last night. A lot of good material and a lot of good work. However, I think the most valuable 45 minutes was the presentation by Sonny.
Not only was there great insight into the future of marketing and branding, there was great career advice from someone who has “been there and done that” with the number one advertiser in the world.
Below is a copy of his “Lessons Learned”.
A FEW THINGS I HAVE LEARNED …
Strategy (and great marketing) is about making clear choices.
“Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs; it’s about deliberately choosing to be different.” – Michael Porter, Harvard Professor
It’s a lot less sexy than you think. Endurance is the key to winning long term.
“Running is a lot like life. Only 10% of it is exciting. 90% of it is slog and drudge.” — Distance runner Dave Bedford
Marketing (and business) is all about great people: Constantly find ropes. Constantly provide ropes.
Picture this. Your career is the equivalent of you hanging off of a cliff. Your company will (hopefully) give you a rope to hold onto in the form of your boss. Some ropes will be stronger than others based on relationships, business situation, and management style. Others will be weak for these same reasons. Your challenge is to ensure that you are holding on to more than one rope. Remember, ropes that you had in the past won’t always be there so continually finding new ropes is important.
How many people would plead and argue and provide a strong recommendation on your behalf? That will tell you how many ropes you are holding onto.
How many people would you plead and argue for providing a strong recommendation? That will tell you how many people are holding on to you.
Commitment and ownership is what separates a “water walker” versus a “swimmer”.
When confronted with a severe business crisis, the water walker focuses all energy on how they will overcome the crisis and still deliver; the swimmer will often focus instead on doing a superb job of “selling” a lower base.
Waterwalkers see commitments as something one simply does not break—never. They don’t give up and they don’t accept missing. They will come to you with issues—but also with a plan to make up the gaps. Swimmers view commitments as a bit more malleable, and when the crisis hits their first course of action is first to figure out how to explain it, and they invest lots of time in refining the slick argumentation that allows them to “go down” yet still retain the appearance of being a water walker. It is a classical case of “substance vs. style”. Swimmers focus on the style of preserving standing despite the real delivery of the business dropping. Waterwalkers go for the substance of simply putting the plans in place to deliver the targets.
Innovators versus Machine Operators: Both are needed for a company to succeed. Realize that there is a bigger need for great machine operators.
“The bulk of the population comes to work every day and makes the trains run on time. You’ve got to have a small number of people who think that it’s their job to take risks….I view my job, in part, as making sure that the company supports the things that take time but end up being big.” – Craig Mundie, the guy at Microsoft who had the interesting task of replacing Bill Gates as the long-term strategic thinker within Microsoft
Learning and continuous improvement separate the one hit wonders from long-term winners.
“It’s true, I am focused on execution. I’m a goal setter, always was, personally and professionally. I’m 64 and I still have my own set of personal goals, and update them on a regular basis. … I expect to be a better CEO than I was the previous year. I’m a learning kind of person, and we are a learning company. If you make a point to learn and question, you’ll be a better CEO even if the results are not the same or better.” – Jim Skinner, former CEO of McDonald’s
Life and Work balance is a personal thing … there is no silver bullet.
“There isn’t enough time in the day to accomplish everything I need to get done. Balance is not a math problem. It’s not a matter of shifting a few hours each week from one activity to another. If it were that easy everyone with a Palm Pilot would look as serene as the Dalai Lama. Balance is a design problem – a matter of coming to terms with your values and priorities, of reckoning with the trade, offs that they require. Balance is not about willpower. If you depend only on willpower, you’re likely to cave in whenever you feel pressured, tired, or unhappy. Balance is about discipline: It’s about deciding what’s important and then creating a structure that defines how you spend your time.” – Fast Company
September 11, 2012
In our industry, it’s almost impossible to keep up with changing technology. So it’s nice to have some words of wisdom that will endure. Thanks again Sonny.