Thursday, July 23, 2009

What’s your Company’s Shoe Size and Type?

Yesterday, I listened to a portion of a radio interview with Chicago Cubs CEO Crane Kenney. In the world of sports, I enjoy opportunities to depart from the standings, hype, competition, and stats and tune-in to the executives. Sports is a huge business and the people behind the scenes making decisions are usually pretty competent professionals.

Crane Kenney was talking about the various discussions surrounding innovations that are in the works to improve Wrigley Field. He talked about protecting the Wrigley brand and ideas that are on the table to maximize revenue without destroying the historic feel of the ballpark. He said that in the never-ending quest for ambitious and innovative revenue generation, there are frequently suggestions that include pyrogenic use or mascots. But Crane Kenney knows where to draw the line. He explains "that's just not who we are". His concise and clear understanding of who his organization is defines what his organization does. While he is innovative and thinking laterally, he instinctively knows what the wrong type of shoe and size of shoe for his organization is. "Right shoe, wrong size" is useless as is "Right size, wrong shoe".

Know who your organization is. What is your unique identity? Don't try to be everything to everyone. If you glibly try every scheme and jump every bandwagon trying to catch lightning in a bottle, your organization will be dressed like a clown and will have about as much effectiveness as a clown does in the marketplace. Know who you are and then allow that to define what you do. Your company will then be comfortable and natural in its own skin and will communicate a fresh uniqueness and distinctiveness to your customers.

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