Think about something you have a ton of passion for: Family, business, hobby, sports organization, etc.
I’ll keep it fun, and pick the University of Oklahoma Sooners Football Program. The great thing about passion for a sports organization, we get to play CEO outside the lines. I feel I have all the answers and not worried to share those out loud to anyone that wants to listen. Does that sound familiar for your passion? How about for your business?
So after OU lost in the football playoffs this month, as “acting” CEO I asked three very important questions (personally, the most important questions any leader can ask):
- WHAT IF?
- WHY NOT?
- HOW FAST?
I’m not sure the University of Oklahoma Football staff is actively seeking my “acting” CEO opinion to those questions. I would assume as hard as the loss was, someone did take the time to ask questions. And if you think about organizations or businesses, I believe that extraordinary leaders create simple but effective questions to ensure they are doing everything they can to unlock the potential.
Let’s turn the script to my actual business. St. Patrick’s Day is a great time of the year for Guinness – everyone likes to be Irish on March 17th. Some might call it our “Super Bowl” for the year. And as most FMCPG, (Fast Moving Consumer Packaged Goods), organizations set yearly targets, what you accomplished Last Year has to be cycled. So our team came up with a different summit: we want to do more than just cycle a number, we want extraordinary performance. We aligned our Diageo Beer Company National Account team to grow Guinness +XX% vs Last Year in our high value chains January-March (St. Patrick’s Day selling window). The value of the opportunity/challenge could be potentially worth 7X compared to our strong 2017 performance.
But how do we do that? We applied the 3 question principal:
WHAT IF? – How would the team feel, how would retailers and our distributors feel? Would it drive incremental value? Would consumer awareness and engagement expand? The answer was YES to all.
WHY NOT? – Do we have the resources we need? Is that the right time to invest? Is anything holding us back?
HOW FAST? – How quickly could we get our internal team aligned? Who else needs to be part of the plan? What barriers could we remove?
I can’t wait to see the impact/results April 1. There will be a lot of celebrating success as I have a ton of confidence!
So asking questions can have a big impact. However, for me personally, it first starts with having a clear and strong PURPOSE (what impact can I make every day). This is an even more powerful place to play than high performance. I wake up every morning thinking about….
UNLOCKING POTENTIAL: A Blue Print for Breakthrough Teams and Performance
Over the last 20 years I’ve had the opportunity to be part of some great organizations and work for some great leaders. I would generally suggest there were some common formulas for success such as: passionate people, engaged teams, strong leaders, operated in growth/growing categories, had industry leading innovation and ultimately an extraordinary culture. High Performance was the norm. Losing was not an option.
Below is what I feel can help organizations or individuals accomplish greatness and play at an even higher level.
The 4 most common principles I find for UNLOCKING POTENTIAL are:
- LIMITLESS CULTURE– Start with no boundaries, a white sheet of paper and create the possibilities.
- Double down on LEADERSHIP capabilities.
- Build the bridge from Control to TRUST.
- Pause to CELEBRATE– let your emotions flow. Create fun and excitement, let everyone see or hear your moxie.
As organizations continue to work through consolidation, complexity, speed, data & insights, and consumer engagement, the challenge to win and win big becomes even more complex. That is why I am so passionate around My Purpose to UNLOCK POTENTIAL.
Leaders that can and are willing to over-invest in UNLOCKING POTENTIAL will drive greater success. And the great thing about UNLOCKING POTENTIAL, it is not limited to just one or even a couple of leaders….everyone can have a voice/impact. As our Diageo Beer Company National Account team has seen, when we develop a purpose around UNLOCKING POTENTIAL, great things happen.
So whether you are looking to UNLOCK POTENTIAL across a Business, People, Performance or Brands, I suggest the “Frame-Work or Blue Print”. Each pillars has detailed thought-starters or concepts that have allowed our teams to out-compete:
- Start with creating and fostering a “NO-LIMIT CULTURE”.
- Build out a clear “STRATEGIC VISION”.
- From the vision, align and implement a “BLUE PRINT”.
- Keep “EXECUTION” at the core of everything you do.
- Critical you create the proper “CADENCE”.
- Develop process and a mind-set to “SIMPLIFY” will allow you to go faster.
- Have a “SUMMIT” you are trying to climb.
- Find reasons to pause, to “CELEBRATE” success.
- It all starts with a high level of “TRUST”. Think about how you bridge from control to trust.
- Invest in TALENT.
- Invest in LEADERSHIP.
- Push outside the BOUNDARIES.
- Play to WIN.
- Think OUTSIDE IN.
- CONSUMER first.
- SPEED matters.
Like the University of Oklahoma Football team, I would bet their version (or Blue Print) moving forward is well beyond just returning to the Final 4. I would have to imagine it is to create a dynasty, to WIN the championship the next 4 years in a row.
How will that happen? As with my organization, individuals and leaders will have to inspire the UNLOCKING POTENTIAL Blue Print.
*Vice President of National Accounts – Diageo
*Title and company of the author reflect their position at the time article was written.
The opinions expressed here by guest bloggers are their own, not necessarily those of Stout Executive Search.