Maverick written by Ricardo Semler in Brazil published in 1993. A transformational business book from start to finish. Completely counter what you’d come to expect from a Brazilian industrial tycoon. I think Mr. Semler is one of the most thought-provoking, honest, most humble leaders I’ve ever come across.
Semco, a heavy duty industrial manufacturer has no rules to live by. You pick your own hours, pick your own pay, pick your own vacation times, heck you even vote on your own managers regularly! Twice a year you fill out a 30 question questionnaire about your management and division you work in.
No one has a long term contact. No one is employed longer than 6 months. Everyone’s salary is openly known by anyone who cares to know.
Semco is the most democratic company I’ve ever read about, and they did it in a 1980’s Brazilian economy. Not the beacon of sought after economies you once thought, on the contrary, Brazil was avoid by many businesses because of the government, high inflation rates, and a fast growing unpredictable future. It’s astounding what Ricardo and Semco accomplished during this period in Brazil.
He was courageous in his decisions but the theme throughout his career and the book was that he cared (and still cares) dearly about people. It’s so refreshing to see in someone like him in a leadership role, putting people before profits.
Telling, forcing, commanding, never works. Inspiring, helping, listening, always does.
When we start projects at StratLab we like to understand the organization we’re working with, the best way we’ve found is to be what David Kelly would call The Anthropologist.The most success we’ve had (and still have) is really getting to know an organization. Going to the Annual General Meeting, Christmas Party, Golf Tournament, Fundraising dinner, basically anything they will invite us to we’ll go. You get to know people on a different level when you see them out of the office in the “wild”. Don’t ever be afraid to get out from behind your laptop to do some hands-on research.
One of the most successful projects we worked on was with the Regina Police. It was an internal marketing strategy where we were to change their core values, vision and mission to better reflect their current culture. It took Six months longer than we thought because we really didn’t want to rush the research process of interviewing every level of different Police officer. It was amazing
To observe without judgement. To develop an empathetic understanding of the organization. You must look at the tiniest of details, the most mundane things can have a major impact on what the end consumer takes away in their experience.
From the book:
The Anthropologist is rarely stationary. Rather, this is the person who ventures into the field to observe how people interact with products, services, and experiences in order to come up with new innovations. The Anthropologist is extremely good at reframing a problem in a new way, humanizing the scientific method to apply it to daily life. Anthropologists share such distinguishing characteristics as the wisdom to observe with a truly open mind; empathy; intuition; the ability to “see” things that have gone unnoticed; a tendency to keep running lists of innovative concepts worth emulating and problems that need solving; and a way of seeking inspiration in unusual places.
Look into a company as if you were Sherlock on a case
Asking questions, becoming very curious, always asking “why” and never excepting “that’s just the way it is here.” The Anthropologist needs to uncover the hidden story behind what the client isn’t telling them. Remember what Sherlock Homes said, “the devil is in the smallest of details.” -or something thing like that. The little things matter. Pay attention to the little things.
Create a company “idea wallet”. Much like your wallet that you carry money around in, your companies idea wallet is where you think and pitch ideas.
How do you get to really know an organization?
By asking questions of course you silly nilly!!
Any question that leads you closer to the central purpose of that organization, generally it’s not your run of the mill questions that are going to get to the bottom of things. People never simply open up to you, you must gain their trust first. Be positive, listen to their answers, and be very respectful (no judging). You need to get creative, the more out there the question is, the more people have a chance to show you their personality. See some ideas on research questions you could use.
Seeing a problem for the first time, through a new lens. The definition of Deja Vu is seeing something you’ve seen before in a ridiculously clear manner. Vuja De thinking is approaching problems like you’ve never seen them before. Trying to solve your organizational problems with novel solutions we’ve never thought about trying. The next time you want an “expert” to solve the problem instead why not ask a beginner to take a stab at it, you may surprise yourself!
We don’t have one. Over deliver, care more, work harder. At Strategy Lab we believe in being so good at what you do that you don’t have to rely on telling others about it. We want to ensure the work we do is remarkable enough that people will inherently want to talk about it. Permission based marketing.
How many small startups have a marketing strategy? I’d venture a guess as very few. No I don’t mean a “marketing plan” I mean an actual strategy with tactics, objectives, and intended outcomes. Rarely do startups care about marketing because if you have to rely on marketing to make your product or service successful you’re not going to be.
How many recent extremely successful products or services have grown exponentially because of a marketing strategy? I’d guess very few. The reason something catches fire is one part luck and one-part remarkability.
Remarkability: The odds that someone will talk about your company, product, service or organization.
Most business owners think of marketing as logos and commercials when really it about getting people to spread your story. There’s nothing traditional about marketing in 2016.
You don’t need a marketing strategy. A lot of people will tell you you do. Professors of marketing, those who’ve never practiced their theories just taught them in the classroom are the worst at spreading the lies about why you need a marketing strategy.
They’ll say you can’t be “off brand” and that every communication you make needs to be consistent.
“Mind your four p’s!” they’ll tell you, even though three out of the four are almost obsolete or useless for your company. Price, Place, Product, Promotion.
Marketing needs to start at the beginning of the planning process of your product or service.
I love the Seth Godin quote “Advertising is the tax for the unremarkable.”
During the creation of a content-driven, engaging, educational, and well-measured website, people often spend a lot of time fretting over design details. While we’ll be the first to stress the website’s function and measurability as it meets your needs as being a much larger part of the website development and marketing strategy, the fact that the colours use have an effect on customers’ propensity to trust your business and make purchases from you can’t be overlooked. This is illustrated in great detail in this awesome infographic from the folks over at KISSmetrics. We’re sure you’ll learn something new. Let us know what you think.
Don Peppers and Martha Rogers get it. They’ve been around the business world long enough to know what’s important to business. I like their approach to the internet and social media. You can’t stop it so you may as well try to understand it better and ensure you’re as transparent as possible.
On July 18 in Regina, we hosted the How to be Awesome Online workshop. A morning of not only learning from the best, but meeting, tweeting, talking and asking questions to a panel of four expert minds on marketing and social media. It was like the world series of Regina’s Twitteratti.
The quotes that were playing throughout the morning:
Your customers are changing. Your customers want more, they want different, they want new, the want fully-loaded, and the want minimalism. How will you adapt?
It’s easy to stay with the status quo. A wise person doesn’t rock the boat, the old adage goes. But that’s assuming the sea is calm of course. What if the sea has transformed into a turbulent hurricane and the only way to stay afloat is to rock the boat and embrace the waves?
Business isn’t getting less turbulent, you may think your organization is immune but when it comes time for layoffs, a horrible “I told you so” is going to be the last thing you remember from your obsolete job.
It’s survival of the fittest on a whole new level.
The only constant is change. You must adapt. You must cannibalize your own products. Steve Jobs said this. His rationale was that if you don’t cannibalize your own products your competitors will.
Your core ‘why’ may never change but you’re probably going to change everything else about your product/service offering. Why wait till the market forces you to change? Why not lead change?
Plan to innovate. Plan to get feedback on your innovation. Plan to measure what works and be willing to change the plan based on the feedback you receive.
The organizations that thrive in 2013 and beyond will have a determination to adapt. A willingness to change for the better. They will take calculated risks and understand that the riskiest place to be is standing still avoiding change.
I disagree with anyone who says Pat Fiacco wasn’t anything short of an outstanding mayor of Regina. On Twitter I heard a lot of grumbling about him not being around and traveling all over the place. As with any opinion from illogical people (people I don’t agree with), I’m sure a lot of that is fabricated.