Every CEO’s holiday assignment

Every CEO's holiday assignment

Where did 2015 go? Why did those targets and goals you set not quite happen? Why did the plan you laid out at the start of the year not quite take hold?

The marketing strategy was good but the traction wasn’t there. The reforms seem to be working but haven’t taken root. The new products and services keep hitting internal road blocks. The simple reason why nothing quite worked out is perhaps down to these three things, vision, culture and cohesion.

Sit down and ask yourself “What is my company[brand] in the world to do?” Does it have a purpose that makes us different from the competition? If there is one write it down and ask; is it Visionary, Credible, Motivating and Different? If you can’t, in one paragraph, sum up what you do and it fits this criteria then this is your holiday assignment.

To find your own unique vision you may need to look past your company at the bigger global picture or shrink down to an individual level and ask what keeps people awake at night. Perhaps your company will resolve to act on climate change in 2016 and move towards Zero Carbon. Perhaps the vision is just to improve the working environment or to ensure that products deliver better on their promises. All these ideas can be used to create a driving ideal for 2016

Culture is something you may have looked at in 2015 but the reforms didn’t quite hit the mark. Why was that? Because culture isn’t driven from the top down it is inspired. If the vision you are sharing is not shared by everyone in the company then it is going nowhere. The most powerful way to change culture is through action and using that to inspire. Your culture lives in the workforce, not just in the board room or within management. The secret is in taking action that directly inspires staff. Ideas will then take root and there will be traction when the ideas become part of the company culture.

To pass the bull sh*t test you need to take real action and this may involve some sort of sacrifice. It may be sacrificing a bit of control and giving more autonomy to teams. It may mean sacrificing a bit of profit, perhaps in favour of volume or using it as part of a new broader marketing and PR strategy. This kind of action always motivates more than any fancy speech.

You may get stuck! – You can ask a Branding Consultant for help but also ask your staff, “What is the best thing that our company does?” Look for a consensus or a common thread and make this into your purpose. If you act on this then ownership and incentive for the idea to work will then come from the ground up, which is a far better a way of getting traction. Get your plan together over the holidays about how you will engage staff to see this brought to life in 2016.

Hit the ground running in the new year with your new vision or set about creating one. Clarity – Simplicity – Consistency are the key. Put the vision at the heart of everything your company does from NPD to Events. Create rituals around it that keep it Top Of Mind.

Do this correctly and 2016 will be your year.