Big news: Starting next week, The BrandBuilder will start contributing little snippets of wisdom on the I/M/D blog (in addition to the already wicked editorial commentary you may or may not have been enjoying on Corante).
Boo-yah. (That means “flattered” in my neck of the woods.)
Since I haven’t had a chance to post anything of substance anywhere for about a week due to an insane amount of work, I wanted to reassure everyone and let you know that everything is okay: I have not been abducted by angry Plutonian aliens. I am not being detained in Guantanamo. I was not spotted in New York City wearing carboard boxes for shoes and trying to eat rocks. I’m fine. Just a little overwhelmed by a very, very, very busy schedule, an 8-year-old birthday party that somehow stretched into a three day event, a ridiculous TV interview, an overdue return to triathlon, and preparation for the media circus that will surround the US Pro Cycling Championship – which is coming to Greenville, SC next weekend.
And since I don’t want this post to be another self-serving, worthless little monologue about me, moi and migo, here’s something cool I thought you’d enjoy. (And yes, it is relevant to branding… somewhat.)
Via OrangeYeti, from AdPulp, here is a little bit of an interview given by Maurice Levy (Publicis Groupe) to Scott Donaton (of Ad Age). If you’ve ever worked for a company that was so set in its ways that it had grown stale, you’ll understand what Levy is talking about:
“I have never stabilized an organization. Crystallizing an organization is freezing the energy. In chemistry, instability is very good because it creates some combinations you don’t expect.”
“Without change, there is fossilization,and that’s the worst thing that can happen.”
“Ideas,are so fragile, so tenuous, that managers must destroy layers that can obscure or damage them. If you have an organization that is too administrative, you are just killing the ideas. As we say in France, when you ask a committee to draw a horse, you get a camel.”
Read the full interview here.
So there you have it: As a business leader, look for flux. Look for tangents. Look for the unexpected. Recruit adventurously. Give your people the freedom and flexibility to contribute in the most personal, passionate of ways. Eliminate silos and procedures when it comes to the sharing of ideas. When it comes to dialogue. When it comes to cooperation. Decentralize “meetings”. Disconstruct the project ideation process. Empower your people to set the stage for extraordinary new products and business improvements.
If you can’t trust your people enough to empower them, to literally give them the keys to the place, then you aren’t hiring the right people. Your job as a leader isn’t always to “lead”. Most of the time, because you aren’t there to bark orders or stand over everyone’s shoulder, it is simply to create an environment, an ecosystem, that allows your team, your army, to do the best possible work they can. It is to create a culture that makes them want to be a part of something greater than the sum of their job description. That makes them proud to be, even.
Ideas are fragile.
Without change, organizations die.
These are the two little mantras you should keep chanting every time you pick up the phone, or a magazine, or your TV remote. They should be in the back of your mind every time you shake someone’s hand or invite them to have a seat.
Embrace instability. Welcome change. Engage uncertainty. Welcome the unknown and love it for all of its infinite number of possibilities.
And they truly are infinite.
Being a leader isn’t about creating the illusion of safety.
(You aren’t a babysitter.)
Chew on that for a while. I’ll be back with more, hopefully tomorrow.