Business as we know it is being turned on its head, almost daily, the flurry of commercial reports and advice is unabated, covering areas such as:
- Safety & wellbeing
- Cash flow liquidity
- Stakeholder Communications
- Supply Chain Management
All of this, of course, is incredibly relevant and important to ensure business survival in the long term after what is likely to be the most disruptive period of trade since World War Two.
Equal to these operational factors however will be the structure and methodology that is sustained within the Sales and Marketing business function. To build resilience and reshape into the “new normal” is going to be fundamental to who will still be there on the other side of this unique situation we find ourselves in.
As mentioned in our previous blog, McKinsey recently published a list of titles to assist business focus on re-structuring into the five “R’s” of: Resolve, Resilience, Return, Reimagination and Reform.
Previously, we shared our view around Reimagination, in how a business needs to use their data to keep relevant and targeted communications to existing and potentially new customers. Equal to this however is a way of thinking that we have increasingly seen emerging, the appreciation of communicating with customers in a more open and authentic place, showing the true mettle of the people running the organisation.
Exploring Reform for your business:
We’ve seen good, and less than good, leaders emerge; the traits that the effective leaders are showing are the ability to adapt, listen and admit they don’t always know the answers.
What are the commonalities of approach that we see across those leaders that have responded well? Those of you that already know us, know that we passionately believe in the Why process because it is the most robust and accurate way that we know of to uncover what really drives the organisation and to understand what its values really are.
Simon Marshall from the Why Not Partnership, for example, quotes four segments that focused on correctly enable businesses to thrive. What’s important to understand here is that this survival is proven to occur almost regardless of adversity or market conditions. It is widely accepted that businesses with the following principles can ride above disruption and adversity, and they are;-
Businesses that know their core beliefs and values, their strength and the contribution and impact that they make to business, life and society have a greater gravity that attracts people and builds common cultures. When embraced, these groups can achieve amazing things together.
By being human, vulnerable and brave we can strip back the veneer of the corporate world and lead from a greater point of authenticity. It is then easier to attract people and customers to your business who believe what you believe.
It is now time to put the boardroom table into the staff canteen. By cultivating an open workplace environment, it invites people to be more creative and involved in purpose of the business. Challenges, efforts and successes are shared in a more open community.
Working across all of these points it means we put people at the heart of our organisation, we work in a more open and transparent environment, allowing people to work more collaboratively. The ideas and energy flow and people understand that they are contributing to the higher cause of the business they serve.
Why is this important?
Never has it been a better time right now than to stop, review and adapt what many see as their purpose, mission or business objectives. We, as a global group of businesses, have the possibility to make a stand for what we see as an authentic point of purpose. We need to embrace customers that share our values and respect, and demonstrate that by how we conduct ourselves, and our businesses, through principles, values and actions.
We have seen some organisations do a 180-degree turnaround from linear, corporate and rigid methods of communications into warmer and more helpful approaches. This is where the heartbeat of people can be really seen, moving aside the corporate veneer that only serves to cover up the people at the heart of the business, and hides us from each other.
It’s important for two reasons; it will make the world a better place to do business, and it will form stronger bonds to ensure commercial resilience.
How do I begin the journey?
Begin at the beginning, there are plenty of tools and resources available to you, that will help you work to uncover your core values and beliefs.
You can buy the books “Start with Why” and “How to Find your Why”. The second book is a practical guide to how to run workshops that help you extract the information you need. As a business leader it’s useful to do this at a personal level, and then for the company.
Like most exercises of this nature, It can be quite challenging to do this for yourself so you’ll probably need to get some help, either from a professional facilitator or someone you trust.
But don’t just stop at WHY:
The WHY is just one part of the process, to deliver the effectiveness of this process, there also needs to be a programme of delivery internally so that your purpose and cause is fully embraced and understood throughout your business.
You also need to communicate it concisely throughout all of your sales and marketing messaging. Remember, people who believe what you believe will be more aligned to your culture and see you as trusted and genuine.
What actions we take, how we treat people and how we make them feel will be remembered long after this current situation is over.
What will your legacy be?