Be focused. Be consistent. Those are simple phrases I would say, sum up what the best leaders I’ve ever worked for have been able to do. Read or listen to a company’s earnings calls and their annual report. The well run companies have a very specific talk track that repeats from quarter to quarter. It’s not that a talk track is created to simply fool the public or to offer scripted answers. No, the talk track is there because they want to make sure there’s a level of consistency in what they’re communicating.
Organizational change is tough. Early on in my career, I tried to plug every hole…quickly. As I progressed and had the benefit of learning from other leaders, I realized that was a foolish approach to leadership. Sure, people start to see instant results, but they see them at the expense of sustained change.
To produce sustained change…the type of change that sticks, you have to be focused and consistent. When I joined Campbell Soup the organization ran a press release announcing my role. The press release included quotes that I would forever have to live up to. I chose my words very carefully; they would set the tone for the organizational change I knew we needed and I hoped to bring.
After we put the final polish on our year 1 focus, we created a common language and framework for how we wanted to share that direction. My interview with Chris Heine at Adweek was the first time we outwardly shared that in my first year we wanted our entire global organization aligned on 1 Digital Philosophy, Process, Lexicon and Measurement Model. Those 4 pillars are things I personally track every day. I want to make sure that when we look back, at the end of year 1, we feel like we’ve accomplished those goals.
From there, we started to communicate both our global vision and strategy for digital. It was in back-to-back podcasts with Kevin Hunt and Frank Emanuele at Likeable Media, where we first tested how simple and palatable the vision and strategy really were. While the general concepts of both were solid, the podcasts with Kevin and Frank were great feedback loops that drove subtle, but critical word choice adjustments.
Those word choice adjustments important and it was in an interview with eMarketer where we offered a deeper look at not just the vision and strategy, but how, in a practical sense we were using it to think about social, mobile, analytics and more.
Just past 100 days and nearly 4 months since joining Campbell, I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to maintain the focus and consistency needed to bring about organization change. This recent interview with E.J. Schultz at AdAge, brings together, for the first time, our:
- Global Vision: To be the most digitally fit CPG organization in the world, across our consumers, customers and associates
- Growth Investment: A more than 40% increase in digital media spending (though I’m more excited about how we’re investing those media dollars)
- Staffing Plan: Between now and November 1 we’ll add 7 new hires to the organizations, including critical hires in Digital Insights and Mobile.
- Examples Demonstrating How Digital Fitness Is Working: From the twitter beta initiative we turned around in 24 hours to the upcoming work breaking this Fall for 2 major new product launches, we’re getting more and more wired for speed, everyday.
We’ve been very focused. We’ve been very consistent. The language you see in the trades and blogs is the same language we’re sharing and reinforcing everyday internally. Just last week I had the opportunity to share the Digital Fitness vision and strategy with our global Consumer Insights teams and with our marketers across the globe.
We’re in the very early stages of becoming the most digitally fit consumer packaged goods company, in the world. But, we’re making strides every day. I remain ever energized to come into the office everyday and work with a leadership team that is constantly removing friction and enabling us to reach our vision.
If you noticed, I rarely talk about digital marketing or social media programs. Those are outputs. Outputs, that become better as we continue internally wiring for digital fitness. Unfortunately those who are ignorant to the efforts of organizational change and the role of digital leaders in organizations, rarely grasp this. Campbell didn’t hire me, because they needed a digital marketer. They’ve been an amazing an innovative company for the last 143 years without me and without anyone in a digital/social leadership role. But, as well documented by actual thought leaders in the organizational innovation space, you need to hire “aliens,” people who don’t quite fit in, to help bring about that change and realize the opportunity that’s been recognized.
I don’t have all the answers. No one does. But, I think we have the right vision and the right approach. Digital Fitness is going to take us to new heights and it will position us to connect with the consumers of today and the consumers of tomorrow. That’s why I’m here and it’s why I’ll be here for a long time.