As I reflect upon traditional business theory and the most popular business books on strategy, leadership, marketing and organizational culture, one book that was profound for me early in my career was “Guerrilla Marketing” by Jay Conrad Levinson. I found the information to be pertinent because of its tangible simplicity and because of its real world relevance. While I could say the same about many of the other great business authors whom I’ve had the pleasure of learning from and being inspired by, I want to use the book “Guerrilla Marketing” to make a point about traditional business and how I believe traditional business must evolve into in order to change the way society views and is impacted by its influences. I see new business practices evolving right under our eyes and it has more to do with style than substance.
Successful businesses today find ways to celebrate their victories, which means by definition that they’ve “won” something. If you believe as I do that if there are winners then conversely there must be losers; the idea of a winner rightly suggests that a business has won at the expense of a competitor. That’s what is great about capitalism. It’s a dog eat dog mentality, survival of the fittest. It’s the perfect backdrop for a book on marketing strategy. The comparison of business strategy to war tactics is important, because they represent the traditional thinking that for a business to be successful, they have to demonstrate more smarts, more efficient execution, and more “aggressiveness.” I can attest to the effectiveness of this thinking to achieve positive results. But, does this type of thinking in and of itself help define a company as being significant? I don’t think so. Effective strategy and execution must be partnered with a healthy dose of “style” in order for a company to be truly significant.
I believe that our society today, given the economic, political and spiritual realities we are facing, is in need of a major facelift, and that business must be the catalyst for that change. I think now is the time that business leaders must take a deep breath and reconsider the little things that go a long way toward building a legacy. In fact, I think business leaders not only need to be thinking about the type of corporate legacy they are creating, but their personal legacy as well. Legacies can be either positive or negative; positive legacies are copied and cited for their significance and negative legacies are reviled and are swift to pass.
When creating a legacy, either personal or in business, the journey matters. The impact to the people you take on that journey, your clients, employees, investors, vendors, they all matter!This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2010.