I have a knack for making people crazy, especially those who have worked in other departments at any company I’ve worked for. The reason is that I don’t mind saying what’s on my mind or expressing how I see things. Quite often, I am the one saying things that other people are thinking. Many folks, especially confident leaders within an organization, prefer this approach while others cringe at the thought that it might not put them in a favorable light. You know the type, the CYA folks that most of us have to deal with every single day. Because of this, I am well-suited to be a consultant. I come into an organization, immerse myself into the culture and execution of a company, and give my honest opinion on a recommended course of action.
Quite frankly, it’s not that different from when I was an employee. I am perfect for a stagnant organization that needs solutions to grow. TrinityOne follows suit; we are great in helping organizations get to the next level. When I began with the Patriots, the situation was pretty much what I see now at many of the companies we work with. There are many folks operating the same way they always have. They may (and I will stress may) be working hard, but basically are not growing and evolving to where their potential lies.
I set the table for this story that still makes me chuckle; I still get “ribbed” about it now and then from some of my past coworkers at the team. We were all planning and working hard for the advent of the new stadium. We had lots of ideas and designs on paper and what seemed to be progress, but the philosophy of some of the department heads was still stuck in the 70’s and not as progressive as we needed to be as a group, moving into a new age of Patriots Football. Some folks were on the right path; others were just comfortable keeping things the way they were, which didn’t work with the plans and aspirations of where ownership wanted us to ultimately be.
We spent many meetings debating direction, and no matter what, it seemed that a majority of folks always ended up wanting to operate more in silos than what was needed for progress (or at least what I thought was needed). Then it came to the time for each of us to present our department plans and what we thought provided the best course of action to create the best fan experience possible. At the end of the day, whether you were in operations, security, legal, or accounting, we were in the entertainment business and we had to create a great experience for the fans – our consumers. When it was my turn to present, I went through my plan and philosophy, and then I came to the final statement that brought it all together: “Because everybody works in Marketing!”
Well, knowing the background that I laid out in the beginning of this post, and the fact that folks were always a bit on the defensive (by the way, I am not saying they shouldn’t have been), it should be of no surprise that almost every person in the room ran to ownership, whining that I said everyone in the organization works for me. Well, at least that’s what they heard; it’s not what I meant or the message I was trying to get across.
That’s why I am giggling now, because it’s funny to me that people would get all nuts about it, as if I actually had the authority to make that happen. In fairness, I was in my early thirties at the time, so I still had a lot of room to grow and refine the way in which I operated. My style may have been a bit rough around the edges, but the philosophy of what needed to be done was well-suited for the direction in which we had to go. Of course, I didn’t mean that everyone actually worked for marketing. What I was trying to emphasize then is still true today; everyone must think they are a part of marketing in any organization. Everyone must be a Custodian of the Brand. Even though your title may be Director of Security, you should not have your troops operate like a police force. You, too, must be a Custodian of the Brand and symbolize what the brand represents.
At the Patriots, and in all consumer-based companies, we were (and are) in the relationship building business. You can’t let your primary function disrupt that omnipresent fact. Other departments cannot have the mind-set of “that is not my job.” Marketing the product and services is a function of everyone within an organization. Even though it may not be your responsibility, it is still your obligation. If an organization is going to grow, its executives and employees must embrace this concept. Leadership has to establish that the consumer is the priority and that customer happiness is included in everyone’s job description.
This is why I said it then, and I say it even more confidently now – EVERYBODY works for marketing.