In This Issue
- OneAccord Principal Randal Dick on how to preserve your brand during transition
- Guest writer Bryan Rutberg on why great business leaders master storytelling — and how
- Up close with FarWest Fabricators and the legacy of a "fair and honest man"
- Resources for busy business owners — from the OneAccord blog
Business and the NFL
Take a look at the above clip. Is there anything we can we learn from pro football that might help us in the corporate (or nonprofit) world?
With uncertainty and disruption being the new norm in business while planning horizons are getting shorter, business is starting to look like the typical situation on any given Sunday in the NFL. Winning football teams tend to be those most successful at managing the constant barrage of disruptors and the unforeseen. In this article, I’m suggesting that football understands how to succeed in spite of disruption in a way that makes just as dramatic a difference when applied in a business or nonprofit.
The Limits of Anticipation
How can leadership learn to better anticipate what will happen? That’s the wrong question. Black swans and many other forms of disruption are not foreseeable. When risk arises and things go contrary to plan, it throws doubt on our assumptions that are running in the background. The typical response is to try to figure out what went wrong with the plan and make corrections. Imagine if, in the NFL, when something unforeseen happened, the whole team stopped with the ball still live and huddled to figure out what went wrong with the play. No, that happens Monday off the field. On Sunday, the team accepts that, for the moment, their assumptions about the play are blown up and they respond to the situation on the field to create the most favorable outcome possible. They work together to find the response that allows continued progress toward the goal.
Likewise, a key to corporate nimbleness is not to immediately focus on what may be wrong with the plan or try to get better at predicting the unpredictable, but to focus on how to create more crisis-tolerant systems.
Tell Me a Story
By Bryan Rutberg, Guest Writer
“Tell me a story.”
From our earliest days, we want to hear stories. As kids we want the narrative, the drama, the heroes to cheer and the villains to fear. Ascent and falls, challenges, failures and triumph. Then, throughout our life, as listeners, we never lose that fascination with a tale well told.
There are the stories we love to hear – soaring rhetoric from politicians, the report of last night’s big game in the morning paper, a neighbor’s tale of good or bad customer service experiences, adventures and misadventures of family and friends.
So why, when promoting our businesses and the work we do, do we fall back to facts and figures, unoriginal descriptions, information unencumbered by passion?
It’s a mistake. We can do better – engage our key audiences, have more impact, build more loyalty and persuade more people to act – when we think deeply about how to connect with others and remember what it felt like when we first begged, “Tell me a story.”
If you're interested in being a guest writer for OneAccord, contact our marketing team.
In Depth with FarWest Fabricators
If someone were to ask you to write a great American story, how would you begin? This one traces through Washington’s Yakima Valley across the last half of the 20th century, but it really finds its turning point at a moment of loss.
The Carter Dream
In 1983, after a few twists and turns, Gary Carter found himself the general manager of FarWest Fabricators, answering to an owner based in Syracuse, New York, but with a dream to own it outright himself one day.
Gary was known and respected throughout the valley, and he led the business well. The team grew from the original four to 25 by 1993 to accommodate the steady surge of orders and revenues. His son, Jeff, had worked his way up to shop foreman and for the first time, after years learning everything about the business from top to bottom, he felt like he knew what he was doing. He would one day reflect on those years and how there wasn’t a job at FarWest Fabricators he hadn’t done, including cleaning the bathrooms.
Then came heart bypass surgery for Gary. Then complications. Then: Jeff’s dad was gone.
The Carter Legacy
“At the reception, I’m standing there in the greeting line, still in shock, and a guy comes up to me. I recognize him as the owner of a business — our largest customer at the time. I look at him, and he looks at me. And he says, ‘Jeff, your dad was a fair and honest man.’
“And something hit me, with just those words: a fair and honest man. I decided then and there, I wanted to be known as a fair and honest man.
“That was my defining moment. That changed who I was, who I became and who I am. With those simple words.”