On Sunday July 25th 1965, Bob Dylan shocked the world by going electric at the Newport Folk Festival. A musician who had pierced the mainstream consciousness with his politically charged acoustic ballads, Dylan’s audience expected more solo protest songs. He had other ideas. He had evolved. Despite divided loyalties from fans and friends alike, Dylan looked beyond his current world, launching himself boldly into a new era.
There is a simple lesson that can be taken from these events 55 years ago: don’t let yourself be limited by the expectations of others. Dylan was never perturbed. He pushed himself when others doubted, with phenomenal results. One song he played that night was Like a Rolling Stone, a single that became one of the most iconic rock tunes of the modern era.
In more recent times, it feels like we’re in the middle of the storm: flatlining productivity, a growing skills crisis, political uncertainty and growing global protectionism. It’s in these moments we naturally retreat to safety. A recent Deloitte report showed that just 4% of CFOs say now is a good time to take risks. Your sanctuary will have routine, it will feel comfortable and secure. It will be well-respected and will likely have influential fans. What will that safety achieve?
According to Boston Consulting Group, two key attributes for a company to thrive are: continuously develop future growth options and a willingness to think differently about strategy. Preparing to sit out the storm could be a short-sighted move for your team and your strategy.
Now is the time to be brave.
You can create your own future by working smarter. Take the time to challenge the status quo and develop your own transformative learning strategy. You can empower your teams and help them get the most out of their work. Put your people first to unlock positive change – help them be the best they can be. Inspire their ideas, innovations and unleash their potential. There are three key strategies we have developed at Media Zoo to help you do just that.
Ask better questions for better outcomes
By asking the questions that others are afraid to, you can get deep under the skin of your business challenges.
- What are you trying to change?
- What do you want people to do differently afterwards?
- How can you measure that?
- What does your audience care about?
These are the types of questions that help you focus on the outcomes. Using First Principles like The Five Whys will help you identify the root cause of the issues you investigate. Digging deeper gives you the ability to narrow in on behavioural, measurable change you can use to work towards more effective solutions.
Unleash the power of storytelling
We are born with an innate love for stories. Our brains are hardwired to connect narrative and emotion. It’s how we survived and thrived as a species. No matter your role or seniority, stories are one of the most engaging and memorable ways to transfer information. Will Storr’s Ted Talk, The Science of Storytelling is a great place to find out more.
What is the power of storytelling? Two recent examples: Greta Thunberg mobilising students around climate change, and the #MeToo movement. Both of these had the power to unite people and generate change. Learn to tell stories that connect your teams, to unite them behind your story.
Support change through experiments
Stories can inspire change but how do you sustain it? The power of the scientific method enables you to experiment with clear goals. Success or failure is recognised and you can adjust your approach if you are searching for a different outcome.
You know what you want to achieve and how to measure it. You’ve identified the stories that matter to your audience.
- Identify your goal
- Build a prototype
- Benchmark your measurements
- Analyse results and iterate
You get feedback that tells you how you’re doing against your hypothesis. You might have failed, but you’ve gained so much insight – ideas for what to change and try next. If you’re succeeding, you’ll get amazing feedback about how to sustain or even improve it.
At Media Zoo, we have adapted Eric Ries’ Lean Startup model for an audience centered, iterative development process to deliver high quality content at pace for our clients. There are more processes with similar principles that I recommend exploring: Nick Shackleton Jones’ 5Di model, SAM by Allen Interactions, and of course Cathy Moore’s Action Mapping.