Thursday, March 1, 2012

False Alarm

Each morning I check my email as a part of waking up. Yes, I know it goes against every principle of productivity that has ever been published, but starting my day with Seth Godin usually gets the proverbial crank going in a way that keeps mediocrity at bay.

After my daily dose of ‘don’t forget you’re a lynchpin’, the next e-mail sets off alarms. It’s my weekly snapshot of business articles from LinkedIn.  The title of the article is: Culture Vs. Strategy is a False Choice. I see the first sentence in the preview pane, “Strategy seems to have fallen on hard times.” It’s a Fast Company article (read it here) and I’m curious. Very curious.

I hold my breath and click. At the end of sentence number two, I exhale.  It is an article about company culture versus business strategy. It’s definitely brain food worth nibbling on, as Fast Company is a feast for the brain; but I’m relieved that it’s not about culture and marketing strategy since that could possibly turn my world upside down. My pulse slows, but my brainwaves increase.  I think back to a phrase used frequently in my first job, “Advertising isn’t about a good idea, it’s about an idea that sells. On a great day at work, they’re the same thing.” 
Yes, it’s hard selling peers, internal partners and clients on ideas.  (Such is life. Think about the last time you and your family negotiated over the remote during prime time.)  Yet, when an idea sells like “hotcakes” to the consumer, especially if it was one of the less popular pitches, you have to dig deeper and ask what resonated to them that you may not have recognized.  It’s humbling when culture “schools” strategy, but the learning lasts much longer.

Geez Louise! What I wouldn’t give to take the younger version of myself out to lunch.

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