A guest article by Minter Dial.
As a veteran marketer, I shudder at the ways my inbox gets filled with unsolicited, impersonal and pushy emails. The bad practices range from vapid content, spelling mistakes and evermore clickbaity titles, to increasing frequency of emails (in response to lower open rates) and, worse, hiding the unsubscribe option. Like so many other sectors and roles, PR and Communications have been completely upended. But, what to do about it? In my new book, Futureproof, How to get your business ready for the next disruption (Pearson Sep 2017), with my entrepreneurial co-author, Caleb Storkey, we look at the 3 key mindsets and the 12 most disruptive technological forces.
If the new technologies are highly exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time, it is our conviction that the biggest disruption is one of mindset. This comes from a confluence of events and situations that have been revolutionising the way we work, but more importantly have been changing what we want out of life.
Whether it is to become the disruptor or to avoid disruption, and whether you are an entrepreneur or a business leader, the attitude with which you approach these new disruptive technologies will determine your success. On this front, there are many buzzwords and concepts bandied about, such as agility, trial and error, pivot, MVP, intrapreneurialism… They may all have validity in certain situations. We know that technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data analytics, the next generation of smartphones and, even, genomics will alter the future of marketing and communications. But, it is our conviction that, above all, you will need a combination of three mindsets in order to navigate through the changing landscape and leverage these disruptive forces.
Insofar as the choices available seem to be plethoric, many companies get overwhelmed. Whether it is FOMO (fear of missing out) or FOBO (fear of becoming obsolete), companies have been systematically mobilizing themselves to onboard new tech, become more entrepreneurial and implement digital transformation. Yet, many of these companies will fall short in their efforts. It takes energy at every level of the organization to power through. But if everyone is burning the midnight oil, frustration, burnout and failure are the inevitable outcomes. The real challenge is to tie the initiative(s) directly to a clear strategy that is linked to a genuine purpose. We call this the quest for meaningfulness.
TO DO: Make sure you know why your organisation exists beyond generating revenues and profit. Host an internal team day for formulating vision together and use a listening.
There are two aspects to Responsibility. The first is the notion of being civically and ethically responsible. As with having purpose in one’s job, employees – especially the younger ones – are acutely aware of the earthly and societal issues facing us. One’s corporate approach to these questions is a legitimate criterion of attractivity for prospective employees. However, the second aspect is more complicated as it is about individual responsibility. In order to leverage these new disruptive forces, from digital skills to ongoing learning to cyber security, everyone has their part to play. From the top to the bottom of the organisation, each person in the company must take personal responsibility for their ongoing learning, their personal presence online and the way they manage incoming links and unknown devices that may carry malicious software. Hiring and firing for attitude has never been more relevant.
TO DO: Evaluate honestly whether the mixture of talents and/or resources you have is adapted to deliver the best performance. Also, to what extent is expertise and knowledge mixing together and being shared throughout the organisation?
The final mindset is labeled collaboration, but we might have also called it the sharing attitude. We believe that most of the disruption is happening not with one singular technology and, certainly, not through one specific expertise. Sharing economy initiatives (ranging from Lyft and OneFineStay to Suppershare (IT), Skillshare or Popexpert) involve a cocktail of technologies. To properly tackle the “big data” question or the massive amount of communications, if artificial intelligence is not part of the strategy, there is a low likelihood of success. As such, companies will need to figure out how to ally and align themselves with other actors where their own expertise might be missing. Going it alone may mean you go faster (and that’s not even sure), but going together, you are more likely to go far further. To properly exploit the disruption, it will inevitably involve finding the right partnerships, whether that’s joining up with the best accelerators, startups or even, in certain cases, with competitors. The challenge inside the company, especially if they’ve been around for a long time, is that the internal departments too often don’t even want to collaborate with one another. How can one collaborate externally if the different department heads are at loggerheads?
TO DO: By focusing on these three mindsets, we believe companies will be best served to achieve three important goals:
- Attract the best talent
- Better serve the customer
- Create longer lasting profits.
It’s hardly an ABC process. Like with human relationships, it’s bound to be messy, complex and uncertain. But, the journey will be considerably aided if the company resolves to embrace meaningfulness, responsibility and collaboration. In Futureproof, we explore all the 12 most disruptive forces, look at specific cases and solutions, as well as provide a practical roadmap for any person looking to take on the future with gusto.
Minter Dial is President and founder of the boutique agency, The Myndset Company and an international professional speaker & consultant on Branding and Digital Strategy, working with major global brands, such as Samsung, Remy Cointreau, Kering and Tencent. He is author and producer of the award-winning WWII documentary film and book, The Last Ring Home. His latest book, Futureproof, How to get your business ready for the next disruption (Pearson) comes out in September 2017.
Prior to the Myndset, Minter led a 16-year international career with the L'Oréal Group – including 9 different assignments in France, England, USA and Canada. Among these, Minter was MD Worldwide of REDKEN, then of the Professional Division for the Canadian subsidiary. In his final position at L’Oreal, he was a member of the Executive Committee worldwide, in charge of eBusiness, Business Development and Education.
Minter received his BA in Trilingual Literature from Yale University (1987) and gained his MBA at INSEAD, Fontainebleau (1993).
Minter is currently a Board member of the ECV School (Paris) and previously served as NED Board Member of Lastminute.com Group.