Author: Kim Goodhart


Posted on /by Kim Goodhart/in Article - Vision, Strategy - Vision, Transformation

Be What You Mean

A Spoonful of HR, Helps the Marketing Go Down

by Kim Goodhart

 

If there was ever a time to have a message and mean it – it’s now. Why? Because what’s really driving us to be our best, and perform our best in business, isn’t as simple as a pay check or work-at-home option. What we’re really craving is a sense of purpose – a place to feel a part of, something worth sticking around for. And, this mindset is making its way into our brand loyalty too – we’re sidling with companies who don’t just sell, but speak to us. 

As inc.com writer John Hall says in his article, “Why Organisations are Turning to Chief Heart Officers and Leading with Purpose.”

it’s those businesses who are blending the pathways between the ‘internal’ human resources side of the desk and those sitting on the ‘external’ marketing chair, that are leading the front line. They are the organisations intent on creating the best-place work culture for their employees and build long-term brand affinity with customers. 

On purpose

Nowadays, internal communications within many an organisation is no longer about ‘delivering information’ it is about capturing hearts and minds of its people, and leading with purpose at the fore. To quote John:

Organisations are also realizing that purpose can be one of those driving factors for employees. What an organisation does, what it stands for and how it treats its employees can make the difference in getting people to stay – or even getting them attracted to a role in the first place.

It’s a win-win situation. When you know who you are and what you stand for then you can lead with purpose, and when you steer with purpose you simultaneously lead the way in creating effective long-form marketing content.

 

The key word here is purpose – and this is something that needs to be stamped out loud and clear. Because you can’t create long-form marketing content until your organisation is aligned with its ‘true’ purpose – otherwise you’re setting yourself up for an angry back lash.

 

Thus, to ensure everyone is on-board with the ‘real’, marketing to your people becomes paramount – strengthen the ties between human resources and marketing, and you strengthen the ties between employee and customer. 

As John says,

The brands that do more within and think more about their community create more affinity. It’s a basic extension of human psychology,” and, “the same things that attract long-term customers are often the same things that draw in high-quality job candidates.

When you know who you are and what you stand for, then you’ll proudly to share it with your customers. And where there’s truth, there’s loyalty . . . 

Can you feel it

So, what many organisations are realising is those ‘deeper connections’ carved with customers aren’t being forged on a typical marketing blueprint – we’re talking long-term brand building that speaks to the heart not the purse strings.

As John says,

the days of someone speaking to a camera for 30 seconds, telling you to buy something, aren’t dead – but the method is much less efficient.

Brand building that fosters emotional intelligence – channels the human – invests in personal development measures, versus traditional marketing techniques, is the motivation drawcard for many customers. We want to align ourselves with companies that are honest, true to themselves and their culture – not following the masses.

John says it well,

In a crowded landscape with too many channels to count, the breakthrough is the thing that doesn’t make sense, not the thing that does.

And this is where confidence comes into play. Why? Because openly building real relationships and conversations with customers (and employees) – those that are purposeful, and maintaining a long-term brand position – one that is revered for its unique identity, happens when you have the confidence to let people in. 

As John attests to, neither marketing to your customers or addressing your company culture are textbook operations – lines have been blurred, and we’ve got to embrace the ripples to communicate the ‘real’.

Posted on /by Kim Goodhart/in Article - Vision, Strategy - Vision, Transformation

Patagonia’s Grounded Vision

No Cliff Hangers

by Kim Goodhart

Why Patagonia’s Grounded Vision Has Won Them Long-Term Love – Not Recognition

When Patagonia – globally renowned outdoor equipment and clothing outfitter – sought to realign its brand values and culture amidst America’s 1990 recession, no meetings were called, no graphics are drawn, no market comparisons or competitor insights were brought forward. Instead, its founder, Yvon Chouinard, and its 12 key managers took a road trip to Argentina. Here they walked, talked, sat and mused about what was actually important to them as a company – why they did what they did –– not a word was said about profit.

Fast forward almost two decades, and staying true to their brand ethos and vision hasn’t just won the company awards and a loyal customer base, it’s reaffirmed to the world that marketing success isn’t driven by just moving goods, it’s about moving minds and hearts. And, that purpose lead engagement – eliciting people’s emotions through active storytelling – benefits all – employees, customers and the environment – long-term.  

Stay Out-of-the-box

You don’t have to dig deep to uncover Patagonia’s litany of achievements and initiatives, dating all the way from the 70s to the present day – including the most recent UN 2019 Champions of the Earth Award for entrepreneurial vision.

Despite the fact that each of their measures has carried its own toolset across the decades, what hasn’t changed is their bind to the same purpose and goal set. In fact, every product, solution, plight – even recently updating their mission statement,

Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.

– has been engaged to drive active good for their customers, their people and the world. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Ensuring that 70% of its products are made from recycled materials. By 2025, their goal is to use 100% renewable or recycled materials. Donating 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of natural environments – awarding more than of $89m to causes – formally establishing a non-profit corporation ‘1% for the Planet’ in 2002.
  • Through an environmental internship program, it offers employees – from all parts of the company – the opportunity to leave their roles and work for an environmental group of their choice for up to two months.
  • Establishing Worn Wear an online/instore initiative aimed at extending the life of Patagonia gear and reducing landfill.

As Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia, said at the National Retail Federation 2019 conference,

We don’t just seek now to do less harm, we need to do more good.

However, ‘sustainable’ expectations are something they’ve never leveraged themselves off – in fact as Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard attests to, the idea of a fully sustainable business or product is impossible:

There is no such thing as sustainability. The best we can do is cause the least amount of harm.

Instead, the word ‘responsible’ is what the company have kept at the fore, as Chouinard argues in his article – ‘Patagonia In The Making: My Founder’s Story’

Responsibility starts with companies treating nature not as a resource to be exploited but as a unique, life-giving entity on which we all – not least business – depend.

Simultaneously, this ‘responsibility’ has kept their teams aligned and working together – giving voice to matters that matter, and strengthening connections between internal marketers and those employees in the external fields, ensuring all beat to the tune of the Patagonia drum:

  • Consider the environmental impact of everything we do.
  • Engage and support our communities.
  • Contribute a portion of our sales to philanthropy.

Igniting the Internal and External

Patagonia’s success Manship pivots from every facet of its organisation. As a company they continue to prove that in order to be truly successful you don’t just have to have a clear mission and brand values, you have to align everyone in your organisation around your vision and purpose statements. And you have to create tangibility – maintain a ‘one out-of-the-box’ stance.

So, to ensure their internal and external teams operate well and truly in sync. Their business model isn’t geared towards a typified rewards system for their employees – whereby people come to work, do their job well, they get rewarded. Instead, they inhabit the space beyond the conventional ideologies of old.

Because they’ve always operated on their own system, they know exactly what they’re there to do as a business, and can, therefore, make a meaningful change because they don’t have to hide behind glossy branding and dodge bullets from unhappy employees. Patagonia continues to be led by chief Visionary Officers – people who will keep everyone excited and inspired by where they’re heading. It has nothing to do with creating an environment where people are excited to come to work for self-reward and satisfaction. Employees and customers remain loyal because they believe in Patagonia and its tangible vision for what it looks and feels like to be a part of something purposeful.

Purpose forward

Like their purposeful vision, Patagonia continues to embrace means and measures to ensure their speak has greater outreach to help drive those visions. Which is why emotive video storytelling is fast becoming a Patagonia’s preferred platform – their film Artifishal, a documentary focused on the financial, environmental, and cultural costs of fish hatcheries and farms, and the fight for wild salmon is just one recent film example.

As Yvon Chouinard says in his founder’s article,

People don’t read any more and they make decisions based on emotions, so I think film is the best way to elicit people’s emotions.

It’s through moving imagery and genuine, emotive storytelling that we change behaviour. If the modern business world is to really transform then we all need to connect our people with a central purpose beyond self-reward and motivate our customers and followers through video storytelling.

Posted on /by Kim Goodhart/in ceo

Kevin Bowler, CEO, My Food Bag

How important is it to feel deeply connected to what you are trying to do? Kevin recognises that the new generation are more attracted to businesses with more purpose. After experiencing a role where he felt he could make a really big difference to NZ he understands it. Purpose brings people together. You see it in employee engagement. You see it in the way people act and behave. You see it even in the micro-decisions people make in every moment of every day. Once people have purpose they’re aligned, heading in the right direction. It’s not to say you can’t be successful without it but you will perform a lot better with it.

Posted on /by Kim Goodhart/in ceo/ 1

Glen Sowry, CEO, MetLifecare

What is the secret to success? Glen believes that success comes when you merge talent with ambition and a willingness to take risks. His vision is to create retirement villages where people want to live and not come to die. Where the walls between the home and the community are permeable, so that kids want to come and visit their grandparents. To succeed Glen will need to empower and enable his people to be creative, to stretch themselves and to be their best selves. To achieve this he makes sure he takes the time to stop and chat with them for as long as they need. Because for Glen being a great leader is about being a better listener than a talker.

Posted on /by Kim Goodhart/in ceo

Mike Bennetts, CEO, Z Energy

Is listening to your people the most important trait of a great leader? Mike demonstrates time and again that it’s his people that are the most important asset and that they deserve to be invested in and listened to. In fact, Mike holds these values so dear that he quit a job when he was told he couldn’t have the budget to develop his people and he spent the first year at Z Energy entirely focused on his people, determined to discover who they were, what they wanted to achieve and why they do what they do. Having won CEO of the year – it’s clear that his approach works.

Posted on /by Kim Goodhart/in ceo

Marc England, CEO, Genesis Energy

Great leaders have a clear vision for the future. For Marc it’s about changing the way that consumers engage with energy. How do you do that? How do you make change happen? You have to have an appetite for the right type of risk. You need to have an intent-based leadership but you also need to have a humility, so that people relate and connect with you. It’s a huge task that Marc has ahead of him, guiding not only his people, but the customer, to change the way that they interact with energy. And this kind of leadership demands the strength that Marc displays.

Posted on /by Kim Goodhart/in ceo

Nick Astwick, CEO, Southern Cross Health Society

How do you get your people on board with your vision? You have to have hundreds of conversations. You have to demonstrate through your actions that you mean what you say. To achieve this, you must be authentic. It wasn’t until Nick knew who he was – why he wanted to be a leader and what type of leader that he would be that he became the CEO at Southern Cross Health Society. It’s this sense of purpose that gives vision and clarity and ultimately guides the success of the organization, keeping it relevant and profitable.

Posted on /by Kim Goodhart/in ceo

Chris Kennedy, CEO, Harcourts

What does it mean when your customer bakes cookies for you? For Chris, this is the ultimate symbol of a job well done. This is when you know that what you’ve done is worthwhile. For Chris great leadership requires taking people on a journey. A leader has to be able to say, ‘This is what I want to do. This is why I want to do it and this is how we are going to do it.” You have to be able to sell the dream and take your people with you. Your team are looking to you for answers, guidance and direction and you need to give it to them so that they can help your customers. It’s all about leaving people in a better space.

Posted on /by Kim Goodhart/in Kim, Strategy - Vision

How storytelling helps you build business momentum

Success is over-rated. Think about it. After every big event, once the crowds and athletes have departed, what remains? Empty streets, litter, the sound of the wind and the creak of the abandoned winner’s podium.

Ask any Olympic gold medallist about that ‘lost’ feeling they get when the shouting’s all over. Think about the sense of regret you may feel when a good story ends. Hitting your sales budgets does not make you a great business. A happy ending does not in itself make a story good.

Staff need to constantly strive for wins

These outcomes are alright for stories and the Olympic Games. For all one-off-events that must come to an end. But your business is not a one-off event. One win must follow another, on and on, forever. So how do you keep it going? How do you keep your staff striving for win after win without getting bored? What do you do about that sense of déjà vu which, whether it follows a win or a loss, can incite feelings of futility?

In our previous two blogs “What Hollywood can teach business about culture, purpose and success” and “How do banks, retailers and insurance companies use storytelling to build success?” we discussed how purposeful storytelling could help you achieve successful transformation or cultural change within your organisation (for more on storytelling to build business momentum download our free eGuide here). But once you’ve achieved your initial objectives, how do you keep momentum?

The Dramatic Question

In the blog “How do banks, retailers and insurance companies use storytelling to build success?” we used Dunkirk and the rescue of more than 300 000 soldiers as an analogy to explain the concept of the ‘inciting incident’ (the battle of Dunkirk) and the ‘dramatic question’ (who will rescue the soldiers?) as two devices that are useful for achieving business objectives, in the same way as they achieve story goals.

If the heroes of the story were able to answer the dramatic question quickly, then that would be it. The soldiers make it home safely. The end. And yet, this is exactly the dilemma that confronts companies all the time, at that moment they meet their targets.

But unlike a story, there is no ending for your business. There’s only onward and upward, or a slow drift in the opposite direction.

The answer? To keep your customers, your staff and other stakeholders engaged and motivated, you need to uncover more dramatic questions.

Inciting Incidents

Fortunately, there’s also no end to inciting incidents when you’re in business – for example, head office whims, digital disruption, economic downturns, new inventions, changing social attitudes, fickle politicians.

For every inciting incident, there is a dramatic question. Sometimes the inciting incident is in your face, other times it’s sneakier, more subtle or a vague sense of disquiet.

Some of these dramatic questions may be:

  • ‘How do we work within the restrictions set by head office?’
  • ‘What will we do about emerging technologies?’
  • ‘How do we deal with the fact that we make junk food when what we really want is to teach people to have healthier eating habits?’
  • ‘How do we respond to our competitor’s new invention?’

It’s these challenges, that keeps the story interesting and the business striving.

Employees need to be a part of the Story

Importantly, if you want to keep your employees engaged you need to include them in your story. They need to be an active part of it. They need to be the hero, the audience, the stakeholders in your story. Once your staff suddenly find themselves abandoned on the beaches and no rescue in sight, they get motivated pretty quickly.

Tip: #1. List your inciting incidents and develop an understanding of the dramatic question in your business.

Tip: #2 Listen to your staff. Go to them for solutions. Let your staff try things, make mistakes and get back up and try again.

Tip #3: Let your customers into what you are trying to achieve, and then they will cheer for you, cry for you and support you – but they need to be part of the story; actively enrolled.

Do that, and you’ll keep your employees and your customers totally ‘hooked’ on the story you’re telling.

If you want to know more about storytelling, I highly recommend these two books (the bibles of storytellers):

‘Story’ by Robert McKee; and

‘Screenplay’ by Syd Field.

To read more on how purposeful storytelling can help you achieve successful transformation or cultural change within your organisation, download the eGuide Why 70% of Organisational Transformations Fail and How to Fix the Problem” here.

 

Posted on /by Kim Goodhart/in Kim, Purpose

How living my purpose landed me in deep water

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” –Bill Copeland

 How my purpose landed me in deep water

About a year ago I was asked if I would facilitate a conference for 60 people over two days. I had never spoken on a stage as an adult, and I had never run a conference, but… the topic of the conference played to every element of my purpose, using ‘real stories to inspire people’ to grow, to have fun, to enjoy life and work. To turn away from it would have been to turn away from my purpose…something I could NEVER have done.

Over the next two months, I planned 8 workshops, talks and activities.

I was terrified

Truth was, I was terrified, almost paralysed by the fear and there were countless times when I wondered whether I was doing the right thing. Part of me wanted to move out to a small cottage in the country and forget all about it. To some people, public speaking may not be such a frightening prospect, but I was terrified, there was a very real chance that I would be overtaken by uncontrollable shakes (it had happened to me before) and suddenly I was swimming in the deep end.

Enormous amounts of adrenalin cascaded through my body, triggering the fight or flight response. Or as my partner calls it, ‘the cowering in the corner, like a scared rabbit response’.

Adrenaline and the breath

However, I knew that it was something I just had to do, and so I ran regularly to burn off the excess adrenalin and I used breathing techniques to calm my thoughts. I use a technique where you breathe in for a count of one, out for one, then breathe in for 2, out for 2, then 3, then 4, then 5, then 6, then 7. By the time I get to about 6 or 7 I usually have a handle on my fear.

With the adrenalin at a manageable level it became my greatest ally. With it, I had the focus to act. I spent hours in a state of flow writing scripts and learning them by heart. I employed a coach to help me with my delivery and I lined up my children’s teddy bears on the couch and practiced talking to them – for days.

Once I knew I was prepared, the anxiety turned to excitement and I was ready to go. I was following my purpose and I felt truly alive.

I did it!

It was an exhilarating and exhausting blur of activity over two days and I loved every minute of it.

However, while the conference was a success and the organisers were happy with the outcome, the real reward came not from learning how to fascilitate a conference. It came from what I learnt about achieving my vision. Things I would never have learnt had I not accepted the challenge.

People thought I was crazy to take on such a challenge with such little notice, but I took it on because I have a clearly defined purpose, and to turn the conference down would have been to turn away from that – something I just wouldn’t have been able to do.

I also learnt more about what my purpose is, how it can be achieved and what the challenges are that I will face to achieve it. I’ve done two more talks since and I have learnt even more from those, getting better with each one.

I learnt a lot about people, what they want to know, what makes them uncomfortable, what holds them back, what terrifies them…

But, you may be wondering, what’s the ‘moral’ of this story?

It’s this:

If I did not have a clearly defined purpose, I would never have been given the opportunity, never mind have accepted it. I would not have faced my fear and I would not have learned to speak on a stage. A purpose is like a compass pointing to ones ‘true north’.

Everybody – individuals, businesses and organisations – should have a purpose, a ‘reason why’ because without it there can be no authentic achievement and fewer significant learnings and experiences.

Live your life, do your business, on purpose – you’ll be surprised, delighted and enriched by the journey. Purpose makes us better swimmers.

 

Click here to download: “How to inspire your employees and get them excited by your company vision”.