An Olympic Perspective

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Can you see the bigger picture in your business?

This weekend I was lucky enough to be at the London 2012 Olympic Games. We had an amazing time and I could describe to you in detail the minutiae of the swimming and hockey events that we attended. I could talk for hours about the wonder of the Olympic Park and the incredible atmosphere there and the brilliant staff and volunteers. What I couldn’t tell you is what was going on in any other event across the Games. We saw every swimming stroke and every whack of the hockey stick but we weren’t aware of what was going on in the cycling, the gymnastics or the volleyball; we didn’t even see the opening ceremony because we were travelling down. The problem was that we were too involved in it to see the bigger picture, and it reminded me of the situation that many businesses find themselves in.

Take a Step (a Long Jump?) Back

Often business leaders are so embroiled IN the business they find it hard to look AT the business. They have an amazing understanding of what they do and their operation but their knowledge of the bigger picture can be flawed because they’re too involved. The company’s brand, the experience of their customers, the perception of their prospective audience, the competition, their own strengths and weaknesses – all these things can be difficult to get an objective handle on.

It’s very much like me standing right in the heart of the Olympic Park and yet having less of an understanding about what’s going on in the Games than someone watching coverage on the TV at home – the feeling of detachment is quite strange.

This can be how an MD can feel. What is required is a sense of perspective; a step (possibly a long jump or even a triple jump!) back to see the bigger picture in order to be able to form and adapt the business’s strategy.

Help from the Sidelines

This situation is where a freelance consultant can really add value. As an objective third party with expertise in marketing, branding and communications I can often see things that those within the business can’t: opportunities to exploit, weaknesses to address, strengths to celebrate, competitive advantage to capitalise on and ways to do things differently. I can be your adviser, your coach and your strategist. I’ll also be your biggest fan, cheering on from the sidelines and applauding your successes – just don’t ask me to wear lycra!