For every leader, strategy is the compass they can’t do without. A well thought through strategy sets the direction for a company, defining what they consider doable and what areas they would not consider venturing into. Every leader, when they first step up to a new post, is asked to provide their long-term plan. But all great leaders, the ones that change fortunes, should also be asked how they plan to bring this strategy to life.
This is what I call ‘FlyVision’ – the ability to ricochet out from where you are to imagine where you could be. It’s akin to ‘flying with the birds’ at a height of 30,000 feet. At this height the whole landscape changes and you start to see new possibilities, new dimensions to your business, new consumer sets perhaps, and possibly a route to crafting a new, bigger future. And great leaders recognize the importance of doing this periodically because it is necessary to re-contextualize an ever changing consumer.
Here’s where the second, critical part, of FlyVision comes in to the picture. Good strategic thinking alone never made the till ring, nor sold product or service. For a strategy to come alive, it needs to be accompanied by three important things:
1. Clearly laid out, fine-tooth-comb detailed plans
2. Appropriate resourcing, and
3. Brilliant execution
This part of FlyVision is having the 360-degree vision of a fly. Great leaders are aware of things around them – the cogs that turn in the corporate machinery, the make-or-break decisions that will determine an important launch and anything else that is business-critical. They are not afraid to work through the minute details of something.
Great leaders have both parts of FlyVision and can practice both with equal ease. They do this tirelessly and repeatedly.
There is an art to growing businesses and a leader that helps a company from strength to strength has many hats to wear. Over the course of my career, I believe I have stayed true to a revolutionary way of thinking, regardless of which hat I was wearing. The “2-Minute Revolution” reflects this belief and whether it was Maggi noodles, Maggi sauces, Tata Tea or Barbies, I was constantly pushed to define new boundaries. In some cases, we developed a whole new category, and in others we redefined what a category meant for consumers. In all cases, we had to make sure we were able to deliver to the promise we made to our consumers.
As leaders, you must remain consumer-centric in every aspect of business. Recognise consumer trends early on in the game. Use research as an insight-generating mechanism to listen-in to what might excite your consumers. Build brands! Not because they are fancy or glamorous, but because they help consumers to know why they should pick you. They build an asset for your company that outlives the people that crafted it.
Revolutionary leaders will rally the entire organizational might behind being true to the consumer. That’s how committed they are. They engage with their teams, talk to them face-to-face. They walk the extra mile, share their vision, and make sure all the pieces of the puzzle fit together perfectly. They take a few risks and make sure that they’re pushing their organisations to truly be different. They motivate and empower teams of people to outperform their own expectations. They inspire.
The thing with FlyVision is that you often don’t know you have it until you find your revolutionary idea which suddenly changes your perspective on where you are and where you might be in future. But ever-so-often, great leaders will pull back from the daily details and allow their mind to float to the 30,000-foot-view.
Article published on LinkedIn on 17th July 2018.
Sangeeta Talwar, the first woman executive in the FMCG industry, who helped establish one of the most beloved and enduring brands of India – Maggi noodles – shares creative and strategic lessons in her new book The Two-Minute Revolution. The book provokes you to think big – about shifting your strategic sight, and about innovation as well as excellence in on-the-ground execution.