It’s been a long haul here in Melbourne, but we’ve finally reached the point this week of slowly being released from the restrictions that have changed our lives over the last 18 months. I’ve been reflecting on the changes in our vocabulary’s during this time and noticed that there are a lot of new words that have become part of our everyday language. Some I love, some drive me nuts!
Since March 2020 we’ve pivoted, self-isolated, quarantined and smart-coded ourselves. We’ve been locked down, curfewed, sanitised, zoomed, skyped and socially distanced!
There were essential workers, key workers and authorised workers. We flattened the curve, monitored community spread, contact traced and aimed for herd immunity.
My personal favourite though is the ‘covidiot’. The urban dictionary defines them as “someone who ignores the warnings regarding public health or safety. A person who hoards goods, denying them from their neighbours.” (mostly toilet paper!)
During the Covid time, I’ve invented a new word of my own, and together with my partner, we’ve even written a book about it – ‘Strategisation’ The Art of Mobilising People to Implement a Winning Strategy. Strategisation isn’t really a word but rather one we have adopted as it represents what, to us, is the most critical aspect of a successful strategy – mobilising your people. Strategisation suggests movement, action, motion.To ensure that people in your organisation are willing to take action, maintain momentum and move forward (implement your strategy) you must fully engage them emotionally and intellectually. People must own the outcomes and be invested in the process.
During the development phase of this book, we researched various words and noted, with interest, that all the definitions of strategy include a reference to uncertain and uncontrollable environments. This suggests a need for agility and flexibility.
Wikipedia describes strategy as a: ‘general plan to achieve one or more long-term or overall goals under conditions of uncertainty’.
While the Oxford dictionary’s definition is ‘ a detailed plan for achieving success in situations such as war, politics, business industry, or sport, or the skill of planning for such situations’
My working definition is: ‘A strategy is an integrated set of choices that uniquely positions your organisation in the market to create sustainable competitive advantage and superior value through its effective implementation.’
Another word I stumbled upon recently is ‘ambidextrous’ which means ‘the ability to use the right and left hands equally well ‘, but I’ve been wondering if it could also be applied to the way we use our brains. I was pondering this primarily with marketing people in mind. In their roles, marketers spend a lot of time heavily skewed to the left brain: analytical and methodical thinking. But, when it comes to meetings with creative people (e.g. advertising agencies) we need to put the left side on ice & ‘fire-up’ our right brain: the artistic & imaginative side. This allows our minds to open up & access empathy – to think, feel & walk in the shoes of our target market.
It’s critical for marketers to learn to access and utilise both sides of their brains when evaluating advertising proposals from their agencies. In our ‘Fanning the Spark’ Creative Approval learning program, we challenge participants to ‘start right’ before ‘moving left’:
🔥Suspend any left-brain preferences at first evaluation
🔥Develop and listen to your ‘gut’
🔥Respect ‘soft’ data – learn empathy towards your target audience
🔥Be flexible to get contributions of others
🔥Then insist on & analyse hard data – does it meet the brief?
Keep an open mind – both left and right sides!