No.008 – Escape from the Identity Crisis Zone


The great Heraclitus once said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” Of course, the pace of change today versus back when Heraclitus and his Greek mates were mucking about in togas has, to say the least, quickened.

In fact, the world of today changes so rapidly that it can sometimes feel like it outpaces our ability to grow and adapt with it. And while we all know change is a constant, both within ourselves and in the world as we know it, if it happens too quickly we can begin to feel confused and rudderless, adrift in a sea of new technology and trends.

And when this happens it’s easy to lose track of what it is that you stand for, how you fit in, if you matter, or even if you still have relevance. And this is where many brands enter into the Identity Crisis Zone. If this has happened to you, the good news is we can help get you out and back up to speed. And we’ll do it at a pace you’re comfortable with.

DEFINITION: IDENTITY CRISIS ZONE

A dark and mysterious place filled with uncertainty and confusion about one’s sense of self and purpose, typically due to change in or around their expected aim or role in society.


NEW IS THE NEW NORMAL

In today’s fast paced society, we are constantly recalibrating what’s important to us, adopting the latest products and technologies that make our lives easier, choosing where to focus our attention, and reassessing what value and meaning we want to give to our daily existence.

The dynamic trends of technological progress and economic growth have forced humanity to make substantial changes:

  • In our thinking
  • In our behaviours
  • In our needs, wants and desires

Have you ever forgotten to pay a taxi driver now that Uber has trained us that payment is automatically taken care of by our phones? This type of change is everywhere and there’s more coming. And it’s the businesses who embrace these new views, support new ideas, and lead us to see new and better ways who are winning today.

More and more consumers want businesses to look out for them and the planet, as much as they look out for their own bottom line. The success of many modern brands like Toms, Warby Parker or Deliveroo can be directly attributed to adapting to changed consumer beliefs and behaviours.

What this means for big businesses is there’s more pressure on leaders to find the organisation’s clear purpose and “why” faster than ever before. And once it’s found, they must confidently and transparently communicate it, effectively, efficiently and quickly. This is even harder than it sounds for big companies who often have entrenched staff who are resistant to change.

On top of all that, access to technology and global talent has made it easier than ever for small, agile companies to outpace the big boys, leading to game changing industry disruption across the board. This puts even more pressure on bigger companies to iterate and adapt faster.

With so many heavy forces putting pressure on businesses today, it’s no surprise so many new clients first come to us asking questions like:

  • Things are changing so quickly, how do we keep up?
  • How do we add the desired value our customers need and want?
  • Has our role changed and if so, to what?
  • What are we aiming towards?
  • Who are we now?
  • Where’s the nearest pub?

If this sounds familiar, it’s okay. You’re not alone. There’s loads of organisations out there scratching their heads. And while a trip to the pub might cure what ails you in the short term, when you’re ready to get stuck in, we can help you create a long-term plan to keep you ahead of the curve.

In our previous article, we spoke about finding your organisation’s purpose, or “Remarkable Truth™,” and how this core idea can help leaders drive organisations forward powerfully. Go here if you missed it or to refresh your memory.

In this edition, we’ll focus on how to recalibrate your organisation’s role and help you explore the functions and expected behaviour your organisation could play in the current and future landscape.

We’ll do this mainly by giving you a lot of questions to ask yourself and your team to help you rediscover your core. Don’t worry there won’t be a test. By asking these questions, what we’re really doing is mining for gold. We’re wanting you to find meaning and value in your organisation as it is today. And see where you can continue to add value tomorrow.

FIRST: GO INSIDE.

Get clear about what you collectively love doing as an organisation.

Ask yourself and your teams:

  • What motivates you and your team to come to work every day, beyond making money?
  • What picks your organisation up on the days you feel defeated?
  • What are we as a group really good at?
  • What achievements are we most proud of? Why?
  • What was our most enjoyable project? Why was it so special?
  • What do we wish we could do more of on a daily basis?

Don’t be afraid to ask the harder questions:

  • What do we dislike doing as an organisation? Why?
  • What are we currently doing that we wish we could stop doing?
  • What type of work, clients, project types, etc. makes us lethargic and procrastinate?
  • Are these tasks required or should we drop them and shift our focus to more passionate and therefore, productive endeavours?
SECOND: PHONE A FRIEND.

It’s hard to read the label when you’re inside the bottle, so ask around. Find out what others see as your strengths. See if what they love about your organisation resonates and is aligned with what you love.

Ask your current and past clients/customers:

  • What they love about working with your group.
  • How your skillsets helped make their lives, easier, better, more more more of what they want in their lives…
  • What would they like more of from you?
  • How can you help solve other problems for them and others? 
THIRD: GO TO OUTER SPACE.

Yes, we need to step outside ourselves and get some distant perspective to reframe our role. Start asking, “what business are we really in anyway?”

Here is where your organisation can begin to separate itself out from the “what” you do to see “what you are fulfilling for others.” By reframing what business you are in, you begin to pull yourself out from the industry pack. By being different, you start behaving differently, answering new and different customer problems and needs, which results in standing apart from the pack.

Coca-cola is really just cola, but it sells ‘“happiness” and with this new frame, it has been able to communicate, express, ideate, and create experiences that support their unique position in the market.

Another local example is Optus. They recently asked themselves if they could be more than just a telco selling data and cables. They realised that telephony and mobiles are fundamentally in the business of data and through that, selling entertainment. They are now in the business of creating entertaining experiences for people which they call “Yes moments.”

RESULTS AND SIDE EFFECTS:
  • Rekindled love for the business and what you contribute to the world
  • Clear direction of where to focus and how to move forward powerfully
  • Pride in workplace: staff are excited to contribute and feel fulfilled by delivering meaningful solutions to customers
  • In combo with your Remarkable Truth™, you will enjoy a powerfully differentiated stance, helping you to stand out from the crowd.

So, what business are you really in?

Whether you’d like help clarifying your true brand identity, or you want expert outside perspective to help frame your position in the market, or you want a fully guided tour out of the Identity Crisis Zone and into your own remarkable space, Monogram can help.