Step Up to the Plate

I’m here to ask you seven big questions that will shape your future when you leave this place. Fortunately for you, I’m also going to answer them! I’m a radical optimist. The winners in this new world of constant change are going to be the ones that fail fast, learn fast, and fix fast. Quite a challenge.


QUESTION 1: What’s the secret to success in business?

Emotion. The ability to make emotional connections with colleagues, partners, clients, stakeholders, consumers. People are 80% emotion and 20% reason. Reason leads to conclusions. Emotion leads to action.

Action comes from the “I”s and the “E”s.

  • I’s –  Imagination, Insight, Intuition, Inspiration and Ignition.
  • E’s – Emotion, Empathy, Energy, Exploration, Enchantment and Edge


QUESTION 2: Who’s really in charge out there?

Don’t bother to look in the office. The Consumer is Boss. They decide what they want, why, when and where they want it. Understanding consumers is the fast track to smart and successful business.  If you’re close to consumers, you’ll learn faster.

You might be an accountant or a consultant, in HR or IT, but your future success will depend on consumers. And they want more. It’s not either/or, it’s and/and.

  • Information and Inspiration
  • Indulgence and value
  • Time and money
  • Efficiency and empathy

Welcome to paradox. Work with complex opposites at the same time so they enhance each other. Zero compromise.

Your job: To give consumers not only what they want, but what they never dreamed possible. It’s a fantastic balancing act.


QUESTION 3: Where are we headed?

Information Economy, Knowledge Economy, Interruption Marketing, Permission Marketing, the Experience Economy, the Attention Economy. And now, the Attraction Economy.

Your job: To create Lovemarks.

  • Brands are built on Respect. Lovemarks are built on Love and Respect.
  • Brands create loyalty for a reason. Lovemarks create Loyalty Beyond Reason.
  • Brands are owned by managers, marketers and shareholders. Lovemarks are owned by the people who love them.
  • Brands drive solid performance. Lovemarks ignite performance, share, intention, margin and return.

The Love / Respect Axis shows the possibilities – good and bad.  We’ve positioned everything on here – from products to politicians.

  • Low Respect. Low Love. Commodities without differentiation. US Airlines are here.
  • High Love. Low Respect. Fads, infatuations and fizzers.
  • High Respect. Low Love. “e-r” words: faster, bigger… cheaper.
  • High Love and High Respect. Lovemarks – authentic, true, sustainable – and loved.

Lovemarks create premiums with:

Mystery – mixes dreams, icons and stories to create the attractions of the unknown.  Stories matter. No one will listen to you if you can’t tell a good story.

“The highest-paid person in the first half of this century will be the story-teller.” – Rolf Jensen

Sensuality – Excite all five senses. Sight, scent, touch, taste and sound are the portals to the emotions.

Intimacy – Empathy, commitment and passion. It’s the small touch, the perfect gesture that takes loyalty beyond reason.

Your job: To transform Irreplaceable brands into Irresistible Lovemarks.


QUESTION 4: How can you get to the future first?

With ideas. The future is shaped by ideas. Great ideas can be surprisingly obvious:

NASA spent millions trying to develop a pen that would write in space. The Russians simply used a pencil.

Bigger ideas.

Toyota re-powered motion with hybrid synergy

Starbucks gets $9b revenue a year for connecting people, the third place.

Simpler Ideas.

Wal-Mart’s idea to change the signs above the front door from “Entrance” to “Welcome”.

India’s idea to solve the Y2K bug. Rewrite the world’s software so it could cope with the change of a century – AND become the world’s leading outsourcer.

Truer Ideas.

Uncovering the difference between how business thinks about consumers, and how people feel about themselves. And increasingly it will happen online.

Two things to remember:

  • Don’t back off an idea just because it’s tough to test and tougher to measure.
  • The best ideas come from consumers.

If you want to understand how a lion hunts, don’t go to the zoo … go to the jungle. Xploring for insight to get to creative foresight.

Your job: To understand consumers better than anyone – and to act fast.


QUESTION 5: What’s the role of business?

To make the world a better place for everyone.

  • Business plans, connects, and dreams the global flow of goods, ideas and experiences.
  • Business creates jobs, choices, opportunities and self-esteem.
  • Business unleashes innovation. The purpose of innovation is to improve lives.
  • Big responsibility, great challenge, huge privilege.
  • World poverty has fallen more in the last 50 years than it did in the previous 500…thanks to Capitalism.

Trust in business is higher than trust in government…still. Dan Dennett said the secret of happiness is to find something bigger than yourself and then devote your life to it. Business strategy in the 20th century was built on the ‘er’ words: bigger, faster, cleaner, cheaper. Business strategy in the 21st century will be created out of new ideas: health, wellness, happiness, partnership, optimism, imagination.


QUESTION 6: How can you help move the dial?

Join the shift from GREEN to BLUE:

  • Green is about the environment. Blue fuses environment, economy, society and culture.
  • Green is about fear. Blue is about radical optimism.
  • Green is about obligations. Blue is about opportunity.
  • Green is about the planet. Blue is about the people who live on it.
  • Green asks, “What’s to be done?” Blue asks, “What can I do?”

GREEN TO BLUE matches RESPECT TO LOVE

Green is Respected – Blue will be loved


QUESTION 7: How can you be the best you can be

Ask yourself three big questions:

  • What’s my 5 year dream?
  • When am I at my best?
  • What will I never do?

Now take those three questions and put them together with four big ideas.

1. Believe that Nothing is Impossible

The bigger your dream, the higher you fly.

  • In software – think Google.
  • In entertainment – think Peter Jackson.
  • In travel – think Richard Branson.
  • In architecture – think Frank Gehry.
  • In sport – think Lance Armstrong.

2. Become an Inspirational Player

Management is not the answer. And nor is classic leadership. Inspirational Players give their people a Dream, not a manual of instructions. Martin Luther King did not say: “I have a Mission Statement.” Inspirational Players understand that their Dream makes Every Day Matter.

3. Get into Flow

Flow is the secret ingredient to performing at peak.  Focus your passionate energy and driving activities. If you increase the time you are “in the zone” you will find a dramatic increase in your productivity and creativity. Get into Flow through Harmony from joining a shared purpose and use your Passion as emotional connection to share the Dream.

4. Use FREDA

  • Focus (100 day plans)
  • Reinvention (Point not Lead)
  • Execution (Drive the important not the urgent)
  • Distribution (Great artists ship)
  • Accountability (RASCI)

Your job: To step up to Responsibility, Learning, Recognition, Joy…… and have fun!

You’ve asked what it’s really like out there. The answer is simple. It’s what you make it. You’re part of a new wave of optimism that business can make a difference, that business Performance can uplift the world.

Your job: To be an inspiration to others. And to Act Now.