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Can You Transform Your Company Just by Writing A Headline?

Sometimes companies get stuck. It can happen whether you're a Fortune 100 legacy brand or a fledgling startup.

Sometimes companies get stuck. It can happen whether you’re a Fortune 100 legacy brand or a fledgling startup. Or maybe you’re just trying to find your place in the future. Either way, it’s good to get moving.

One workaround that works is to assign your top people some homework that goes like this: “Imagine you’re a reporter writing about our company in 2020. What would the headline be? What would the story say? Imagine you’re writing for a newspaper, magazine, or a blog. Whatever.”

What’s the headline? How do you describe what your company accomplished? What’s the story about?  How did you arrive at that place in the future?

Just by projecting what your company’s future might be like, you can shape a vision, and then backtrack strategies and tactics to make that future possible.

That’s if you’re stuck.

Of course, the best leaders already have a trajectory in mind.

So, by using this same exercise, you can lead company directors, managers, and other key personalities to have a stake in your future. Writing that fictional story will help them understand-;and internalize-;that future vision. Their next step will be to deliver on mission-critical components that will make your quest a success.

If they can see the vision, they can help actualize the future.

By writing that headline yourself, you provide leadership and direction. By letting others write the headline and the storyline that supports it, you give everyone else permission to step up and own the narrative that could transform your company. The narrative that will help move you to new markets, allow change, and transform your organization to better fit the future.

You’re not only unstuck, you’ve institutionalized your vision and broken it down into parts that people can play a role in and rally around.

You’re one step closer to making your future success happen.

Good job.

Last updated: Aug 19, 2014


Patrick Hanlon is CEO and founder of Thinktopia, a company specializing in community innovation and integrated brand development. He is the author of Primal Branding: Create Zealots for Your Brand, Your Company and Your Future. Thinktopia’s staff of social anthropologists, cultural ethnographers, trend spotters, research analysts, venture catalysts, graphic designers, urban planners, innovation experts, videographers, stylists, retail experientialists, cool hunters, forensic researchers helps leaders get unstuck, develop new markets, and re-define their futures.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of
The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of or Visa.

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