Coming Home Strategy - Coming Home
Coming home has everything to do with why we do business strategy the way we do it because it's about coming home to yourself. And if you want a strategy to reflect your career ambitions and business objectives, it works best from your home base.
The real value to you - your business and broader society - is created from a unique and personal predicament, where all the best strategies originate.
I lived in Harrogate in North Yorkshire and, via university, found myself in London during my twenties. It was a lovely place, and I was a single man. Eventually, I worked at Knightsbridge in advertising. And it was almost a dream come true - although I never imagined I'd be working in advertising when I was a young man.
I had several accounts. One was a consumer goods account, and another was a retail account. And the retail version was enormously demanding. And I was also working in a team where only some were entirely cooperative, which made it difficult.
Anyway, after I'd been in London for about ten years, I was taken ill. The hospital could not specify it in today's virus age. It was one of those. I was lying in bed and thought I was about to go.
Everything within me was used to keep me alive.
There was just this tiny light, like a farthing in the English coins—little light or feeling inside me. And I knew I was being called upon to decide whether I would survive. And I felt the decision. Bedridden, couldn't do anything, barely conscious, I felt this little light say, 'I'm going to live. I'm going to live.'
So I recovered, and I went back to work.
But I knew from that moment on that my life had to shift. I couldn't continue; I couldn't continue the way I was working, and I began to reflect on my life and realised that I was becoming someone I wasn't.
In advertising, there was a tremendous amount of deceit. There were some excellent people, but there was immense deceit under the disguise of political ambition. I wouldn't want to be abseiling down a mountain with many of those people.
And I thought this couldn't be life.
After my illness, I came across a different group of people. A very close friend of mine at the time was working in Switzerland, and he came over to the UK and said, I've got a new girlfriend. And I said, okay, well, I need to meet her. And it's around New Year's time or Christmas. Christmas or New Year time.
So I went with my close friend to meet his girlfriend at a party north of Marble Arch. And I met his girlfriend, his mother, her sister. And they were a lovely family, and a group of beautiful people surrounded them, and I wanted to know what they'd done.
And it took me to an organisation that put personal development as the root of business growth.
They had tremendous respect for the truth in this organisation. They had immense respect for honest communication, which is easy to say but not so easy to do. You know, being truthful in your contact can be quite emotionally messy.
Why am I saying all of this?
We would set goals every month - you know, sales and marketing, and we would set goals.
Within the goal sheet, there was a Vital Targets section. Vital Targets. And the purpose of this section was to identify what it was about yourself that you wanted to engage and develop during the month - while you were achieving your goal.
Most members of our company set a goal and vital targets. So every beat, every moment of every day - so long as you were aware of what you've written down! - you could be working on your personal development.
That experience started me on this idea of the personal predicament being the source of the strategy. Because in implementing a strategy, you do it with those vital things.
This is contrary to adopting the value set taken from an encyclopedia or an advertising slogan; it's contrary to the idea that I have to adopt an organisation's values. In this model, I can develop myself as long as my general collection of values fits within the organisation's context. I find that attractive.
So that's why we start with an inquiry into your predicament. And it's a perfect tip for operationalising values.
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