Breakin’ 3: Corporate Shuffle

There’s something about breakdancing that, whether I can or not, makes me want to try it. I probably should have started when I was a nimble, back-flipping, pre-adolescent gymnast with health insurance.

During my time here at bigwidesky I’ve been flummoxed by the number of businesses – decision-makers, actually – who are intrigued by our ideas, but are hesitant to act, nay, hesitant to decide to act. I think they have the same reaction and attraction to our ideas that I have to breakdancing.
Since all things O.B. intrigue me, I found a couple Strategy+Business articles that provide decent context for the behind-the-scenes conversations that are possibly torturing the intrepid decision-maker, of which we are not privy (here and here – free registration required).
I found several useful insights and analyses in the “7 Types of Organizational DNA” and “The New Complete Marketer”. Notably:

Decision rights are unclear. More than half of those completing surveys indicated they believed that the accountability for decisions and actions in their organizations was vague.
Execution is the exception, not the rule. Fewer than half of all respondents agreed that “important strategic and operational decisions are quickly translated into action” in their organizations. Poor information flows seem mostly to blame.
Staying ahead of the curve means moving beyond the usual approaches to draw consumers in, and agencies must partner with their clients to find the best mixes of media and formats for doing that. “We are moving from technology push to consumer pull, from push marketing to co-creation, from idea manufacturers to consumer experiences,” says Keith Pardy, senior vice president of strategic marketing, brand management, and consumer relationships at the Nokia Corporation. “If you have to push advertising to consumers, you are out of business. Advertising has to be context-relevant. And whatever you do, add value to popular culture and do not patronize the audience.”

Then it hits me: It isn’t necessarily true that companies – err, decision-makers – are change averse; they don’t understand the intricacies of their organizations well enough to embrace change confidently and make a decision that affects numerous lives, the bottom line, and the future of the company. Choice theory is at play, thwarting our efforts to effect change and get buy-off from our prospective clients.
We can’t fight it, so how do we work with it? Three legged races? Red light, green light? An inter-office scavenger hunt?? Is our obsession with creating incredible ideas simply ahead of its time? How do we comfort the VP of Marketing and assure them the organizational anemoscopes we use are ISO 9000 certified (and not obsolete)?
Those breakdancers make it look so easy!

One thought on “Breakin’ 3: Corporate Shuffle

  1. The foggy hierarchical flimflam is a dangerous thing indeed. It is inside that anonymous unaccountability cloudbank that the bureaucratic skygoblin spreads its thunderous terror, clawing at the engines of innovation and scaring a young William Shatner half to death.

Leave a Reply