“Both are necessary. Both are important.”
You need people who can hold the line. And you need people who can get things done.
John Mackey, CEO and co-founder of Whole Foods Market, gave me specific language for a common dynamic in organizational behavior.
In words he shared on Rich Roll’s podcast, the purist and the pragmatist are at the heart of a valuable tension in businesses, organizations, and movements.
I expect you’ll recognize it.
If you’re familiar with Simon Sinek‘s Start with Why, then you’re familiar with his Golden Circle.
Your Why is at the core.
It’s wrapped in your How.
And the circle’s outermost ring is your What.
The pitch: Most companies pitch themselves outside in (What you do, How you do it, Why you do it). But working inside out (Why, How, What) is far more inspiring and effective.
Because the model is so simple, yet powerful, Sinek’s 2009 presentation at TEDx Puget Sound is one of the most viewed TED videos ever (see it).
Here are two non-competitive, side-by-side looks at (and listens to) the same song producing a dramatically different customer experience. And what that means for your business.
The What: the same notes played and the same lyrics sung in the same order.
The Why and How: wonderfully distinct musical outcomes.
“What does it mean that the earth is so beautiful? And what shall I do about it? What is the gift that I should bring to the world? What is the life that I should live?”
This line from poet Mary Oliver‘s Long Life was read by Krista Tippet on a recent episode of On Being.
I’ve not yet enjoyed a truly epiphanal moment with regard to beauty, gift, or purpose, but I’ve seen varied and fleeting glimpses in sustainability. At that intersection of people, nature, and business.
Ray Anderson, on the other hand, has.
By way of Netflix streaming, we just completed Season 1 (2007) of the original Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares from Channel 4. Throughout, the chef traveled to restaurants throughout the UK that were failing for various reasons, attempted to identify and correct the failures in one week, then returned a month later to see how the proprietor fared.
The concept continued on BBC America and later on the FOX network. The formula is transparent and the editing dramatized. Still, it’s both entertaining and informative.
Beyond obvious takeaways like “the restaurant business is challenging,” “the UK is quite lush and beautiful,” and “they allow incredibly coarse language to be broadcast over there,” several marketing tips, ideas, and reminders are present. I’ve run down 7 of them.
The easiest thing for companies to do in hard times is to eliminate jobs. You read about this constantly as a reaction to lowered earnings, reduced margins, and dimmed prospects overall. I saw this cycle frequently toward the end of my local television career: positions held open for a couple extra months, hiring freeze across all positions, buyouts of tenured people, then elimination of positions.
The cuts seem necessary and beneficial at the time, but it’s a long, slow death. The expense cuts tend to mask deeper problems with value proposition, business model, or strategy. People will ultimately be necessary to bring life back to the operation, to create and deliver its value.
Downsizing (or, the sadly hilarious “rightsizing”) seems to be a quick fix that immediately cuts expenses. The problem: the benefits provided are short-term only. Continue reading