I learnt many valuable lessons from reading Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great. One of which helped create a phenomenal structure — Crawl, Walk, Run — for a digital strategy presentation my team and I went on to deliver to high-level executives at a leading global consulting firm, EOH.
I remember vividly my paging enthusiastically through the rather thick volume – which took Jim a patient five years to research and write. I read during train rides to and from a digital media training programme I was attending in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, called DIGIFY.
I recall one Wednesday morning on the train, combing through the book with wide eyes; I had come across a gem! Nothing like it!
An interesting coincidence occured after I started reading Good to Great. The nature of Digify is thus: Mondays are reserved for various agencies and other organisations to come in and brief Digifiers on strategic comnunication challenges they want resolved. The Monday that followed my reading the book, consulting giant, EOH, came calling for an exhaustive digital media strategy – it was a turnaround in many respects.
One of the concepts discussed in the book correlated with the marketing problems EOH were grappling with!
A brief background: Digify incubates 20 young people between the ages of 18 to 25 and takes them through an intense and exhaustive course for three months. After which they find placements for the participants in various media agencies. And so far, the programme has had a 100% success rate in getting the students jobs. The group of 20 gets split into teams who then become media agencies who dissect the given brief during that week and deliver their solutions to clients on Friday.
One of the many defining moments, though, came during my Wednesday train ride. I read a chapter with a great case study of Walgreens, a pharmaceutical company that used technology not as a creator, but as an accelerator of growth and momentum. Unlike other companies who relied on it for momentum.
I thought: This is it! This simple approach by Walgreens when faced by the threat that was the dot.com frenzy ought to be our strategy for EOH!
And like that, squirming in my seat on train no. 9015, I confidently decided to run with the concept. In my mind, I then previewed the team delivering a great presentation to the executives come Friday, 07 August 2015. It was as if the universe was speaking to me, giving me detailed instructions, which I gladly lapped up.
After an hour of having boarded, with my fervent scribbling on multi-coloured sticky note papers, the driver thrust the train headlong into Braamfontein station — my destination. I closed off the book and redied to jump off at precisely 7:40AM. I slid the phone out of my pocket to listen to music. And I bellowed with an excited scream!
I had landed upon a smart and well-fitting idea for the presentation to EOH executives. Nothing was to stand in the way of Dream Team! The power of reading.
What eventually transpired during the presentation was a moment I will forever cherish for the rest of my life! It was magical, transforming and took me from average to GREAT.
I re-affirmed to myself that I can tell a story, transfer my energy, inspire, change mindsets and teach. This is who I am. Nothing greater than this.
In just a day, 07 August 2015, I spoke, found myself and went from average to great.