Tagged: reality is perception

Forty five (ii)

“The 20th Century wasn’t all that long ago, but I don’t think we’d have had a conversation about brand back then like we did this morning. This idea of a nexus of values recognizes the accentuated role Attenzi plays in the big scheme of things. We have to be so much more connected to the way our world thinks and feels in order to remain relevant let alone lend relevance.

“And this opportunity to be transparent and this instinctive need to be authentic means we can’t say one thing and do another. We can’t hide from our responsibilities, and we must have a tidy house. If we want to be perceived to be a great company, a great employer, a great citizen and a great custodian of our planet, then we have no choice other than to be just that; great!

“If we want to be seen as such, we have to be as much. Reality is perception.

“Now it strikes me that some hardcore capitalists might reject some of this as too liberal, as too distanced from the primary and they might argue sole objective of the body corporate – to create wealth for its shareholders. However, to me, seeking to make a direct connection between every single activity and a fiscal measure of shareholder wealth creation is woefully simplistic to the point of dogmatic fancy. We must consign such simple mechanistic thinking to the past as we begin to acknowledge and confront the complexity of the world around us.

“And what’s more, I see no such tension. The shareholders’ long-term interests are best served by our thinking here. We are just recognizing that the changes around us demand we change the way we go about business, and possibly change what it actually means to be in business.

“We’re in service to our customers, to ourselves, to shareholders, to all stakeholders – each stakeholder benefits in the long-term when other stakeholders work with rather than against it.

“So rather than focusing on the short-term transaction – ‘make stuff, sell it, job done’ – we must focus on the lifelong relationship by thinking about everything we do in terms of service.

“Technologically, we’ve arrived at a new epoch. This decade is a so-called perfect storm, in the positive sense. We no longer have to rely on old rules of thumb. We no longer need to trade off the short-term and long-term so bluntly. We can attempt to navigate complexity, to try and plot the optimal course through all these interacting elements.

“It can never be an easy journey, but the more sensitized we are to the zeitgeist, to our customers and ourselves and all stakeholders, the greater our facility to respond appropriately, and to lead appropriately.

“Perhaps Saket would put it like this: ‘Perfection is not just about control. It is also about letting go’, Black Swan, 2010.”

I saw Saket smile.

“We have to open ourselves out to the world, and let the world in. Attenzi is no longer defined by its payroll or by its shareholders but by our participation in a wider network.

“And these new technologies enable us to participate effectively and efficiently. We don’t have media for media’s sake – we have it to communicate. And we don’t communicate for communication’s sake – but to influence and be influenced productively.

“And we’ve learned that there’s potentially influence in everything we do, and sometimes in those things we don’t do.

Twenty one (ii)

It’s sort of a modern day equivalent of measuring column inches in the press; both are flawed metrics as both grow when something goes really badly as well as when something goes really well.

Let me be totally clear, the Goorooz are not grifters. They’re not quacks. They’re exploring this new media and new technology sincerely and trying to make a living out of helping others understand and get to grips with it. But sincerity doesn’t mean effective.

On sharing my conclusions with Michelle and Yvonne after the Goorooz had guru’d their way to their next meeting, I underlined my commitment to social media. I underlined my commitment to our values. I underlined my intention to continue interweaving the undoubted potential social media represents into the very fabric of the business.

I’ve heard the opposite referred to as lipstick on a pig. Attenzi is no pig. It requires no such lipstick.

I could see Michelle wasn’t happy. With me. After all, I guess I had just shot down her initiative to invite these guys in. She left the room quietly. Yvonne was more upbeat.

“I can see where you’re coming from Eli. I’m reading a book at the moment that describes social media as bringing radical transparency on an organization.”

“Radical transparency? That’s quite a strong expression.”

“Yes” she continued, “And there’s more. If ‘perception is reality’ was the saying that characterized our approach to marketing and public relations before, we now have to consider that reality is perception.”

“Goodness.” My brain got knocked and I felt myself thinking hard. It must have been visible as Yvonne went with the silence.

I, like many others, had witnessed examples of citizens around the world using the social media and mobile phones to record and communicate the day-to-day realities they had to live with, until this had helped catalyze uprisings, which had in turn been documented post by post, tweet by tweet, photo by photo, video by video.

Authoritarian regimes could no longer project one image to the world, or maintain a façade to its people, while governing quite differently.

Hang on. What am I saying? This doesn’t just apply to authoritarian regimes, this applies to all government. And all business. All organizations.

Information has been set free.

I concluded our conversation: “It’s like a big oil gun has been taken to the machinery of the world, lubricating its workings. We’re taking out the friction in the system that for so long frustrated the spread of information and knowledge.”