When you fake innovation, you let everyone down. For whatever it is worth, an enterprise must decide for themselves what they want to be. And then once that decision is made, build yourself around it. That means hiring and firing the right people, changing the way you communicate both internally and externally, and executing. If you are okay being an average organization that does not take big risks and rides on the coattails of success, that’s fine. Just don’t fake it.
Major League Baseball is faking it. They were looking for mass appeal, so they turned a blind eye to rampant abuse of performance enhancing drugs for a long time. When they finally decided to deal with it, it wasn’t an internal decision. Their hand was forced by the media and other external factors. But even at that point, they had the chance to turn things around.
They tested and “perfected” a new random drug testing policy that was actually quite lenient, much more so than other professional sports. They revised it many times, made it more strict, publicized it, and executed it. Their message all along was that they were cleaning up baseball, making it great again. At least that was their message to us, the fans and media.
Internally, no one got fired for failing to do their jobs. And an investigation that should have been quick and to the point, is still ongoing. Then, when most of the dust had settled, and fans of the game finally felt like things were back to normal…A-Rod. Curt Schilling I think says what I mean best in his blog post. Why is A-Rod left out to dry? Who leaked this information? Why are some names still not released to the public?
This is not a blog about Major League Baseball. But from this example, it is clear that an organization (your company?) must have a clear vision for what they are trying to do. And now, more than ever before, you must communicate and execute on that vision in the public eye. You can’t get by with telling one story and doing something else, you’ll get called out on it. The negative PR from “lying” about your goals, your vision, your ideals and your strategy is too much to handle in a connected world.
You have to be the real thing. People will acknowledge you for it, respect you for it, and thank you for it (success!!). What do you think?