As part of our year-end, Firebrand Group released a new Ebook, 20.16 Big Ideas for 2016. In it, we asked a number of our favorite award-winning marketing experts, authors, and other thought leaders--in addition to some of our own team of digital strategy and branding experts--to recommend one "Big Idea" that companies can take advantage of to get ahead in 2016. You can download the entire Ebook here.
A few days ago, I shared my conversation with Gabrielle Archambault advocating for influencer marketing in 2016. Another of the luminaries I interviewed for this project was Dorie Clark, the author of Stand Out, named the #1 Leadership Book of 2015 by Inc. You might have seen Clark featured on MSNBC, or NPR, or perhaps the BCC; the list goes on. An Adjunct Professor of Business Administration at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, Clark is one of the sharpest minds studying business and success.
Here's some of our conversation:
What's your Big Idea for 2016?
My theme - and if I can be so bold as to recommend it for companies, too - is focus. For years, we've been pushing ourselves (and have been guilted by others) into trying to be everywhere and on every platform:
What? You haven't tried Blab.im? You're not on Periscope?
We need to get comfortable feeling like losers in the short term so we can actually be good at what we're already doing.
Focus is always called out as a key factor in success. How do you define it?
Focus is about prioritizing. Everyone is pretty good at that, and figuring out what should be at the top of the list. The problem is that they're unwilling to give up on what's at the bottom of the list, and they try to do it all. You have to let it go and be done with it; worrying about what-ifs is no way to live, or for your company to be successful.
What percentage of companies do you consider to be truly focused?
Vanishingly few. For a good primer on this, read Richard Rumelt's fantastic book Good Strategy, Bad Strategy. He shows that good strategy is oftentimes textbook-
obvious, and yet it almost never happens because organizations lack the political will to do what they know they should.
How can companies truly embrace the idea of focus?
Here's the tricky part: all the easy stuff--the tasks and projects that are useless or marginally helpful--have already been eliminated. We need to become comfortable saying no to good things, which is extremely painful. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is the modern epidemic, as played out every day on Facebook or Instagram. Focus, by definition, means you're going to miss out. Your company can't succeed otherwise.
Looking to see what Clark's peers provided as their 20.16 Big Ideas to business? Access the entire Ebook here. And, here's wishing your business plenty of success with focusing your 2016 efforts.