One of the things I try to do in all my work is to take a new approach or a fresh angle at solving an old problem. Whether it’s transforming my community association to be more about looking out than looking inward, or bringing brand new bread to my neighbourhood, or even a new style of presentations to my day job, I want to Wow people.
Andy Nulman is a man who has indirectly guided me along this journey. He’s the author of one of my favourite blogs and has just finished a new book called POW! — Profiting from the Power of Surprise. It’s a book I’ve been waiting for.
In support of his book launch, Andy’s giving away 200 copies of his new book to bloggers who link back to his site. I’d gladly link back for free, but just in case, here’s my address Andy 🙂
I must have been abducted by aliens and had my memory wiped out since I completely forgot to tell you all about the Tribes Q&A ebook. It’s another collaboration from Seth Godin’s tribe of followers — some of the nicest, smartest and most creative people I’ve ever met.
This ebook answers some of the questions that seem to come up when people try to apply Seth’s ideas about forming and leading tribes. I could go on, but fellow triiibster Paul Durban is a genius at expressing ideas through pictures, so let’s have Paul explain it for you.
If you’re a leader within a large organization, sooner or later you’ll need to develop a strategy — recommendations on how to respond to an event or take advantage of a change in the world. You’ll do some research, talk to people and think a lot.
When the vision is clear in your head, typically the next step is to get everything down on paper so your strategy can get vetted, approved and implemented. Here’s where everything slide sideways quicker than a Texas driver in an ice storm.
One Size Does Not Fit All
You need to remember that a LOT of people need to know about your idea, from the top executive to the worker who will eventually implement your vision. And they need to be treated differently. “Maximize shareholder value” might have meaning for the CEO but it sure sounds like vapour to someone who is working with customers all day.
But Everyone Loves a Story
Execs may claim to be all about the numbers, but they still need to get some emotional attachment before your big idea will really resonate. Storytelling, examples, pictures, colour all help spread your idea and make it stick with people, no matter who they are.
So what should I write?
If your idea is important, and it needs to spread, then you’re going to have to spread your idea many ways. Time to get over the false hope that a single document will inspire everyone in your company to see the light. Here’s some ideas on how to get different audiences to respond to your strategy:
You can’t avoid the standard documents: Execs probably require standard documents like business cases, standard item descriptions and presentation layouts. They’re not fun but they’re required. Do them.
Make it fun and make it real: Leave the business case in your desk and take a strong presentation on the road to talk to workgroups. Lots of colour, pictures, stories and a strong image of the future. You’ll gain credibility and some allies.
Give them something to share: An entertaining ebook that describes your vision and the journey to achieve it is a great giveaway to help your allies spread the word for you.
It’s worth it!
Sure, it’s a lot of work building a collection of documents and presentations to get your ideas across to a variety of audiences. But it’s a really big idea, right? Right? If it’s not worth the effort then you’re better off stepping back to the research / talking / thinking phase.
Yesterday, about 150 corporate marketers trudged five blocks to the local hotel, went into the dull beige ballroom and sat in row upon row of hardback chairs for another “quarterly rollout.” We started with “the numbers” (three charts, small font) then list after list of what we did and what we’re doing next quarter. The call for ‘any questions?’ was met with silent stares. 90 minutes later we stood up, stretched, and trudged back to work.
Is that all there is? You get 150 people in a room to bore them to death? Honestly, a single slide with a picture, or colour even, would’ve knocked people out of their chairs. In this case, the only leaning forward was to look at a blackberry email.
It is so frustrating when people blow wonderful opportunities to inspire, delight and energize. Boring 150 people at a time is criminal, but how often do we do this in our small groups too? How many of your community meetings just drone on through the same agenda month after month? How many of us, in an attempt to include everyone, talk to noone in particular?
“Tribes” is the term Seth uses to describe groups of people who form around an idea and a leader. It has huge implications for marketers, since it changes the approach about marketing your product or service or idea. Instead of making sure Everyone knows about your idea, Seth asserts it’s more important that you reach out to those people who are passionate about your idea, give them the platform to let your idea spread and lead them along the journey.
It’s tougher for me to explain the concept than it is to share examples. I figure Seth anticipated that, since he organized his own tribe (including me) to build an ebook with tribal examples. There are nearly two hundred cases in the book, including a short one about my favorite fantasy football website, footballguys.com. Go check it out, or download it here.