Thursday, 20 March 2008

The buck's gotta stop somewhere...

Trying to get my head around this issue - buck passing. Why does it seem more relevant than ever before in my career? Why do I hear phrases like:
  • It's not your/my remit
  • That's up to A, B, C to decide, not you
  • We'll have to get a workshop/meeting in to discuss that
  • I can't do that without buy in from the entire human population of Papua New Guinea

It's two things - a depressing "silo" mentality that any professional should, frankly, be ashamed of these days (and one i won't go into) but it's also so far away from the real-virtual world the "consumer" lives in, that the negative effect on business is unavoidable.

Defining possession and ownership of anything in the digital world, is a waste of time. By the time you've organised the brainstorm to sort out the meeting to agree the plan of who should run the project for your latest brand extension - some bloke in Derby's already done it and got it bought by A. N. Other rich b*stard in the States. Too late - back to that drawing board.

Problem is that big old school companies just aren't set up to work as quickly as we'd like - and getting them to that place is going to take some time. But that's not to say we shouldn't try - those big old school companies are just as full of passion, innovation and talent as the small .com millionaire start-ups. I genuinely don't think the problem lies solely within the organisation - although, I fear, a lot of current thinking is that if you fix that, you'll fix everything. Just getting rid of the red tape is not going to make it better.

The issue is the mindset...the fear that lies within us mere mortals who don't really understand the 1s and the 0s behind all this and therefore don't like to shout too loud. Making the big, gutsy, hairy, balls-out changes to an online business that will catapault you into true success is harder because there is a fear of "getting it wrong" by people who are used to being experts. In short - it's a fear of failure. So the buck passes more and more senior people who are further and further away from the consumer and much too busy trying to sort out the goddamn infrastructure to get involved with the guts of the business. The outcome? Without a maverick on your side who's prepared to get some backs up, cock up a bit and put thier neck on the're stuck.

My advice, no - my order - go and grow some. Excuse the phrase but I do really believe in this, and not least because I've wasted time myself worrying and wibbling around. Don't wait for someone else to tell you that you're right, you might not be, and if you are - who's going to be able to tell you? Anyone worth their weight is WAY to busy making their own mistakes and loving it. And so what, if you really mess up - least you can blog about it...

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