Meet the Boss!

October 13, 2009

TC's Master Pres.032_2

Look someone you know?

He’s a manager of a bygone era.

But here’s the thing…

What fundamental problem was he supposed to solve?

The answer  – efficiency and replication.

The Boss was invented to keep his staff focused on following rules and doing the same thing over and over again, whether it was building a Model T Ford or a Silicon Chip, or flipping a burger or serving a customer, or even approving a bank loan… The Bosses role was and still is all about minimising variation, and maximising standardization.

But hang on… that’s not the problem modern leaders or businesses are wrestling with today. Rather, it’s more about; “How do we build a business or enterprise that’s adaptable, innovative and sustainable? Or for the team within the business, how can we really provide a work environment that’s engaging and a fun place that encapsulates real work/life integration?  Moroever, how do we draw out those unique human gifts of initiative, creativity and passion into our workplace?

We are now at a management crossroads. Traditional hierarchies or draconian systems block or inhibit positive and meaningful change and collaborative outcomes. Despite the rhetoric the real art of management conversation, of listening and working together (collaboratively) – is almost nonexistent. Complicated bureaucracies or silo’s within the many tiers of government and functions of business are the root of the problem.

Meanwhile the knowledge, resources, and computing power of billions of people are now self-organising into a massive new collective force. Interconnected through blogs wikis, chat rooms, YouTube, Twitter – the internet is providing the first ever global platform for realtime collaboration. Some are saying – who needs management anyway?… as these new online self organising tribes are rapidly changing society and spawning new meritocracies or peer to peer networks, breathtaking business models and new leadership.

From where I sit leadership is all about- doing the right thing.

Saatchi & Saatchi (the worlds leading Ad agency) is a great example of what doing the right thing is about, so is Google, Virgin, Apple and Wholefoods.

So what makes them so different? 1. Aspirational leadership. 2. Believing in a dream.  3. Aligning people’s emotions by creating a real sense of purpose and a culture of knowing where you fit in and belong.

In other words this is all about fostering a Movement or a Tribe. Ref. Seth Godin’s Book –Tribes!

…click here to continue




What I have learned…

September 7, 2009

For the past few weeks I’ve been managing the marketing and community engagement business unit @ Logan City Council. Although its been a while since I led a creative team of talented people the lessons of a diverse business career are always and ever present with you – specifically insights of, customers, people, leadership and business. Show them you care, Show them that they matter, Show them with love in your heart and Show them where they fit in (or don’t)!

Actually I’m blessed to have met or worked alongside some of the worlds best.

Back in the early 80’s I pitched an idea to the legendary Bob Ansett This was around the time when his mighty Budget Rent A Car was on the drive to knock off Avis from its No1 top dog status. (They did!) Anyway  back then I remember thinking wow, this guy is amazing but more importantly I remember his message:

“You can’t possibly know or understand how customers think or feel – unless you deal with them face to face”

Like most entrepreneurs Bob’s leadership style meant he didn’t just talk about it,  sadly like so many of todays managers do – he actually demonstrated what he meant by leading from the front line – and mandated all Budget senior execs must regularly serve on the front counter to experience first hand what face to face really means!

My next big lesson was about Customer Relationship Management… in the late 90’s at the offices of legendary USA authors Peppers & Rogers Group. (Dr Martha Rogers and Don Peppers – coined the phrase 1:1 Marketing). It was around the time that a few of us OZe’s imagined a different world emerging through the customers eyes. I had just seen Martha captivate an audience at a digital printing expo in New York  and I was hooked!

“Treat customers as a marketing opportunity of ONE – and you might just create a relationship covering a lifetime of value!”

And my third lesson is all about the new social media revolution when back in early 2000 I began to follow a real heretic – Seth Godin.  I’m an avid fan of all of his books and his daily Blog.

“The Web changes everything: customers now rule – you don’t!”

But perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learnt  and continue to learn is from the man who coined the ultimate customer relationship phrase LovemarksKevin Roberts is someone whom I admire, and regularly follow across a variety of issues including Leadership and what it means to do the right thing – the very inspirational Saatchi & Saatchi leader – Kevin’s a Kiwi and NZ is a country which spawns a host of clever people who regularly punch above their weight

So do yourself a favour. Sit back and watch this.



Innovation is surprisingly Spiky!

May 9, 2009

The Innovation SpikeAs the saying goes…a picture is worth a thousand words.

Probably more to the point (excuse the pun) here it’s worth $Trillions!

Study it for a while.

Look at the spikes – IT Employment, Venture Capital,  Patents, Look at the links.

You can’t help but feel impressed. WOW!

However If you live downunder like I do, then you will feel a tad deflated. Where the hell’s our spike? Nothing, not even a little one. Not even a bud of one.

Back in 2001 I opened a multi million dollar digital production business in Bangalore. Even then, some 8 years ago  the place was zooming (Seth Godin expression) Now some years later Bangalore has a bud.

We don’t!

Now that really pisses me off as for the past decade Australia has been shelling out $Billions in R&D initiatives and innovation grants. So where’s our Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Craigslist, Google, Apple or the next big thing?

Let’s flip back a few years. When Australia was considered somewhat a leader in innovation from the Boomerang to the Victa Lawn Mower. We also gave the world other gems like the Hills Rotary Clothes Hoist and the Bionic Ear. But of more recent times it seems Australian innovation has stalled. Yes we have the CSIRO, our Innovation and Research Labs, the plethora of Government Innovation Departments, and of course, our Universities, colleges, schools, consultants and ASSOB.

Thank god we still have the ABC New Inventors show.

C’mon Australia despite our inquisitive culture we’ve become a risk adverse nation. How the hell is it be possible that an Ethiopian women living in desperate poverty can have freedom to access risk capital to start a business with no strings attached whereas smart young Aussie entrepreneurs with good business sense a great idea and passion are made to jump through hoops that would make top gymnasts do a back flip!

Some would say we’ve  lost the plot. Perhaps it’s time to do something about it. For the sake of my grandchildren I have and will continue to collaborate with others who are on a similar crusade.

Visit Start or stay tuned for more as this Innovation movement is gathering momentum and will soon reach critical mass.