Shake It Up

April 25, 2012

Presentation Summary

Speaking to senior business leaders at the Institute of Directors Annual Convention 2012, Kevin Roberts gives 3 ideas on how to get a winning edge in 2012.

Winning edge

I have three suggestions for you to tackle 2012:

  1. Power it Up
  2. Heat it Up
  3. Speed it Up

Why are these three things important? Because in this facebook era of sharing and connecting and friending and liking and all these soft power touches, we have lost the edge of winning.

And these three directions will put us back on track.

Coach of the Century Vince Lombardi said “Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.”

And wanting to win has never been more important, because we live in a VUCA world. I learnt this at the Pentagon.

We live in a world that is VOLATILE.

We live in a world that is UNCERTAIN.

We live in a world that is COMPLEX: How can 7 billion people all have shelter, secure food, stay healthy, get along, feel great, be happy, pay for it all – and fight off aliens!!?

We live in a world that is AMBIGUOUS. There are more obese people in the world than starving. How did that happen?

To win in a VUCA world, you must reframe it – to “superVUCA”.


Usain Bolt is superVUCA. He says London 2012 can make him a ‘living legend.’ He wants to “astound” the world by running 9.4 seconds for the 100m and 19 seconds for the 200m.

He wants to win. So do I. And I bet you do too.

The winning M.O. is Fail Fast, Learn fast, Fix fast.

To win today, Britain must:


In this Age of screenagers, of people power, of instant sharing and scaling, of teens in T-shirts creating billion dollar companies, all bets are off.

Management is dead. Strategy is dead.

Have an inspired purpose, a dream – and then go forward in 100 day steps.

Instead of relying on MBA-schooled managers to take you forward, you need to unleash the unreasonable power of creativity.

Having creative solutions, being creative, inspiring creative ideas, being a creative leader, this is the new order, the performance factor to build a reputation around.

Britain? No dream, no desire, no energy, no delivery.

To be a Creative Leader, follow four principles:

Revolution starts with language.

Change CEO to “Chief Excitement Officer”.

Reframe constantly 

Steve Jobs: creator of the world’s most valuable company, reframed presence into absence; and in his world LSD did not refer to pounds, shillings and pence.

Surprise with the obvious

To develop a pen that could write in space, NASA spent millions on advanced technology. The Russians used a pencil.

Go for lots of small ideas, continuously.

Big ideas are scarce, strung out over time, and investment hungry.

Chances are you will stumble on the big idea, find it one degree from where you currently are, or even have it made for you by your audience.

#2 To win today, Britain must, HEAT IT UP

The currency of the Age of Now is emotion, because emotion rules the intensity of the moment.

Reason leads to conclusions; emotion leads to action. The more heat goes in, the more action comes out.

Even insurance companies can be loved.

Three secrets to creating Lovemarks:


Stories – Danish futurist Rolf Jensen: “The highest-paid person this century will be the story-teller.”

Past Present Future / Taps into dreams


Sound, sight, taste, touch, scent: the enthrallers of the emotions.


Empathy, commitment and passion.

It’s the small touch, the perfect gesture.

#3 To win today, Britain must, SPEED IT UP

Marketing is dead.

Attention Participation
Inform Inspire
Interruption Interaction
Return on Investment Return on Involvement
Pumping Markets Creating Movements

It’s not about getting things done. It’s about making things happen. The total focus must be on action, creating a movement at warp speed. Do it now!

A D E From To
Assess 50% 20%
Decide 30% 10%
Execute 20% 70%

The left hand column describes most businesses today: strategically-driven, by the book, MBA-obsessed, ponderous.

The second column is where companies operating in the Age of Now need to be. Fast. Instinctive. Focused on action not assessment. You will fail a few times along the way but if you fix fast you won’t lose momentum.

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