3 words that should R.I.P (in 2010)

I beg you all please to avoid using the following 3 words in 2010:

  • Leadership
  • Strategy
  • Social Media

Here is my rationale.

  • Leadership – I think we can all agree that leadership is important but can’t we stop talking about it and just start exhibiting the qualities?  We can all have endless debates about the how best to lead but we have to accept the reality that, there is no best or one way to lead.  There are so many variables involved that it makes it impossible to even create a framework.  The other issue I have is that, somehow, leadership became an end in itself?  Leadership is a means to an end and the real focus should be on the organization, group, team, nation, etc. and their respective goals.  The reality is that any “leader” spends 90% of their time “managing” and that is the way it is supposed to be.  An easy way to put this in perspective is, “Managing is what you do, Leadership is how you do it.”  The funny thing is that if you are not an effective manager & can’t produce measureable results, it doesn’t matter how good of a leader you think you are.
  • Strategy – Let’s get off the crazy train and back to business on this one.  Strategy is only 1 of the 4 components of the business model and, really, not even the most important.  The 4 are: goals/objectives, strategy, tactics, & resources.  When you actually evaluate “strategy” you will often find the issue is more likely a goal that is not clearly defined or even unattainable and/or there is no real tactical plan to carry it out.  We have become so enamored with the word strategy that when there is any problem in a business, the first step to evaluate the strategy.  The problem there is that, usually, there are no 2 people in the organization who can clearly explain the strategy to you.  Ironically, I think if called the process plannning (instead of strategic planning) I am not sure so many people would be interested in pursuing it.  A strategy is a plan, plain & simple.  Remember, “Strategy is how you did it, not how you are going to do it.”

For those of you who have read anything by me, I apologize for repeating myself but both strategy & leadership are similar to pornography…I can’t really define them but I can tell you when I see it.

  • Social Media – I can only imagine the venomous responses to this but here goes.  Let’s call this what it is…a marketing channel.  Just like radio, print, television, etc.  It is a different channel and does not have the same rules as more traditional ones but it is still a channel and should be folded into the overall marketing plan.  It is also not for everyone!  In fact, it is a channel that requires clarity & a willingness to participate and not control so many organizations should stay away.  This is so eerily similar to the website discussions from 10 years ago and how everyone had to have one.  There will always be the “next big thing” given the pace of technology but we need to control our collective ADD and stop being distracted from every “shiny nickel” we see and focus on your and/or your company’s goals & objectives.

Our world continues to become more complex and more connected and we will be faced with more an more “shiny nickels” in 2010 than we saw in 2009.  In order to move forward (and maintain our sanity) we need to anchor ourselves in simplicity and remember that business is about a person selling a product or service to another person. This is what it has always been and will always be.  Business is about people and people are simple by nature.  We all want the same thing regardless of the situation – we want to be an end, not a means to an end.  If you show people you care (if you truly do) everything else is detail.

Wishing you much success in 2010 & beyond!


1 Comment

Filed under Real Life

One response to “3 words that should R.I.P (in 2010)

  1. Michele Kennedy


    Thank you for writing this piece. I really liked it and could identify with much of it, particularly because I have an undergrad degree in Organizational Leadership…and after spending two years living/working overseas.

    With Leadership – yes, my motto after the whole study (which the Idealist in me loved) was: A leader must walk their talk. It was a bit scary because I knew it meant a commitment. I was not going to say I was a leader until I felt committed to it. Going into a new role in 2010, I will keep in mind your 90/10 rule. This is a good “focus” tool.

    Strategy is great, but is ambiguous by nature and one can not be married to it. Just move forward as you say.

    Social Media – when living overseas in Australia in the late 90’s who were not the marketing maniacs we are in America, I’d come home every six months and ask myself, “I wonder what the big craze (buzz words) are now? I’d always find it informative, but a little bit funny to me looking inside the “fish bowl”. Again, ambiguity here becasue it’s sort of the grease that oils the engine (for the powerhouse the U.S. is.)

    But as you warn: I saw our upper management jump on the E business band wagon in ’00 – 01, which basically bankrupted a great company. Having worked there for several years, it was a heartbreaking thing to be a part of. I couldn’t agree with you more on this one. The lesson: What were the customers asking for? (It was not ebusiness then, even though the “market” said it was.)

    I believe that people and our positive relationships with them, even in the business world, is what best creates success.

    Best Wishes to you in 2010!
    Michele K.

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