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Sorry Simon (Sinek) Start With How NOT Why - The Blog Post



My argument in podcast episode 07 of Across The Pond Marketing Transformed is that capability building is not a ‘nice to have’ it’s a must do, it's a business imperative its the 'HOW'.To preempt any litigation and accusations of jealousy, let me go on the record by saying I’m a fan of Simon Sinek’s Start With Why. Since 2009 his golden circles have nudged us in the right direction, by elevating the role of meaning and fulfillment in the world work. It prodded the corporate world to realise that ‘Purpose” isn't superficial, ‘fluffy’ or temporary - rather to see that it that makes an invaluable difference to business results, shareholder value and employee fulfilment.

Fast forward to 2019 and I see a bigger issue in the business world. A world where C-Suite leaders, especially the CMO’s I speak with being pulled in too many directions to make how their priority. Because, too often the forecasting meeting, budgeting meeting, sku rationalization session or organizational headcount discussion sucks up all of their time. Why’s that such an issue ? Well, a fundamental shift happened in 2018. Findings from the Gartner CMO spend survey 2018 and 2019, reveals a scary situation - that CMO’s are spending more on MarTech (Marketing Technology -i.e. the stuff) than people (ie ‘Labor’ as per the data). This is shocking, unacceptable and needs immediate correction.

‘How’ unleashes mindsets and behaviors of:

  • cultivating empathy

  • putting people first

  • focusing on capabilities

  • building people capacity

  • de-prioritizing PowerPoint

  • crafting development plans

  • peer to peer coaching is a ‘thing’

  • training: upskilling and reskilling people

  • equitable access to learning and growth opportunities

  • leaders human enough to have real conversations with their people

  • letting go of the P&L as a starting point for each and every interaction

  • developing deep connections and commitments amongst the people within the organization

  • being vulnerable as a leader, being candid and able to say out loud (eg in a Town Hall forum) “I don’t get” it or “help me learn”

  • coaching and feedback - developing people to help improve their abilities and set them up for success (ie only as a last resort letting them go)

‘How’ propels you towards asking questions such as:

  • what’s the right set-up for modern marketing?

  • do we consider crafting insights to be time well spent ?

  • when do we work collaboratively ?

  • are we involving the right functions to look for growth opportunities ?

  • does the person closest to the data make the decision ? if not why not ?

  • what am I doing to make things better?

‘How’ compels you to face reality and improve ways of working and roles and responsibility issues such as:

  • how to work with the media agency AND content agency AND creative agency AND production team

  • Who takes precedence between your internal and external digital teams

  • reducing the complexity of getting work out of the door

  • getting your data into one dashboard then using that data to make a decision

'How' requires there’s a person in the organization with the mandate to lead marketing capabilities because they:

  • change mindsets and behaviors

  • lead efforts to improve ways of working

  • ask questions that challenge the status quo

  • believe that how leads to top and bottom line growth of the business

  • have a job title such as head of ‘marketing excellence’, ‘marketing university’ ‘marketing learning’, marketing transformation’.

  • are charged and equipped with the political power, financial resources and business accountability to the organization.

  • The aha’s I’ve had through learning - knowing - doing - teaching marketing, is that ‘how’ matters so much more to unleash the power and potential of people, and its done via sustained investment and prominence of capability building.




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