Today’s visionaries have an obligation to lead and they feel it. They’re finding new paths for those in the world who believe in positive change. As a friend of mine recently said, “follow the Hansel & Gretel method, but instead of breadcrumbs, leave a trail of happiness wherever you go”.
These leaders take action by revolutionary and radical application of technology, humanity, empathy and the embodiment of ideals. Their businesses are designed for a better future.
Analytical methodology, scientific discipline and a sense of business acumen solve problems but this is no longer sufficient. The next step for business is to work to a clearly articulated vision. This must come from the heart as well as the head.
Over the last 10 years, I’ve combined studies in spirituality, meditation and yoga with the rigours and demands of business. I spent that time as both a consultant in marketing and as a practitioner of more spiritual and bodily pursuits – sometimes I worked, sometimes I went to India to learn about yoga, sometimes I just enjoyed a lot of walks in nature. In that time I’ve come to believe that embodiment practices and business can no longer be separate. The old saying ‘healthy mind, healthy body’ is true, but equally true is “healthy mind, healthy body, healthy business, healthy world”…
I wanted to find a more refined way to work with my clients. I was learning more and more about how we create and distribute products, or to put it more specifically, how we find and share value in the world for mutual benefit.
In 2016 I attended DMEXCO in Germany, one of the largest digital marketing conferences in the world. I witnessed the surge in data science and the information economy expressed as insights and exchange of social capital. New business models and opportunities were everywhere – especially in the use and application of artificial intelligence.
What’s clear is that tomorrow’s leaders will not only have to be familiar with the implications of data and artificial intelligence, but they also have to understand them to the point of being able to shape and influence the development of these technologies with a sense of embodied humanity.
I have worked with many leaders over the years – CEOs, managers, mentors and gurus who shaped my ideas of what a leader needs to be. Through my work with them I’ve developed an intuitive ability to guide the creative process so we get to the value beneath – the gold. I do this through conversations, questioning and refined techniques and tools I’ve picked up over the years. I keep it real – it’s marketing, and the results are equal or better than standard techniques, but I’m watching the underlying value all the time, to keep me on track. I try to focus on what ‘The Flow Genome Project’ calls “flow – the potential to open up the next level of human performance’. I believe business is a creative process just like any other, and a marketer benefits from understanding the ebb and flow of ideas and their application. An objective point of view and a sense of balance can help with the uncertainty and tension that is inherent in any creative process. This comes not only from mental discipline and techniques, but also from rituals – meditation, exercise, yoga, diving into nature – “getting out of the way”, so to speak.
The challenges I’ve faced have been to bring my experience as a scientist and a creative personality to marketing. Early in my career I tackled my lack of experience in marketing by reading like crazy and learning on the job. I’ve taught myself marketing to such an extent that I’ve been employed as a consultant to some of the world’s leading data companies such as Google, IBM, Altify and most recently Boxever.
When I’m marketing products, I’m constantly faced with a question that I believe needs more focus:
Markets are now well described, programmatic systems thanks to data – becoming replicas of meaningful economies. Finding markets can simply be a matter of matching your data with the data of your customers. In technology, systems of innovation for inventing new products are so well described as to become ‘plug-and-play’ – build, measure, learn, repeat. There are so many solutions for every problem, it’s difficult for anyone to discern which software to buy, which service to use, which product to select. The question ‘Why?’ becomes important not just as some ethical or philosophical consideration but as a business concern – if your customers can’t see why you’re doing what you’re doing, why would they choose you over a competitor?
It seems to me the only meaningful way forward is to lead with vision. Vision comes from the person – you – not the system being applied to your creation. Success doesn’t come from analysis either. Scientific discovery is always preceded by a ‘Eureka’ moment followed by a hypothesis to be tested. My job, I believe, and the job of any marketer, is to work with the vision of a leader, to create and innovate with knowledge and discipline but also empathy and awareness. Body, Mind and Soul, so to speak.
The results of this approach have proven to be very valuable for those with whom I’ve worked. It’s helped them to grow their business and find markets for their products. I’ve also failed at times. I’ve had periods where I couldn’t even express what I did for a living – resulting in times of reflection and confusion where I wondered whether I could fit into any job or role I could truly believe in. I’ve meandered a bit and tried many things – including film production and writing – to explore the possibilities and potential of the creative process. I’ve found a way to work that allows me to play to my strengths – marketing for innovators and leaders. In addition, I’ve learned to combine my work with meditation, yoga and a sensitive approach to business. Now is the time for me to immerse myself in how business works, how leadership works, how to scale – how to offer value that’s not just the commercial gaming of a system, but something more. Know the system, apply the model, then go further… I no longer feel as though I have to fit into an existing template for marketing and distributing valuable products and services, as most have been shown to be insufficient for our needs on a global level. I simply have to create the world I want to live in, by leading with vision. If this resonates with you, please get in touch – I’d love to chat.
Andrew is a Product Marketing and Sales Enablement consultant who can help you communicate clearly with your customers, so they’re more likely to buy. Over the last 15 years he's worked with some of the best sales and marketing companies in the world (including Google, IBM, Vodafone and Altify).