When some leaders wake up to reality, when they slowly start to notice that things are in fact meaningfully different from how they were before, we often witness a self-absorbed, I’ve just found Jesus and I need to tell you all about it, kind of thing take over.
“Consumers who shop multiple channels are more valuable than single channel customers” they breathlessly announce at conferences.
“Stop thinking about e-commerce as a channel” becomes the title of a newly released white-paper.
“We need to differentiate ourselves on experience” the CEO implores a group of assembled executives.
Suddenly everything is about “seamless”and “omni-channel” and “the single view of the customer.” Their sentences start to include a disquieting use of “integration”, “customer-centric” and “relevance.” Investor presentations and annual reports turn into games of buzz-word bingo.
I hate to drag you out of your pink cloud, but just because you took a long time to notice, doesn’t mean it’s a recent phenomenon. Responding energetically to a totally foreseeable crisis does not make you a great leader.
Pretending it’s new may prop up our ego or cast ourselves in a better light. Better late than never, huh?
Pretending it’s new may buy ourselves some time with a less than savvy Board. What they don’t know can’t hurt them, right?
Much of what passes for insight today has in fact been known for years if only we had taken the time to become aware, confront its import and accept the implications. It’s not new and we shouldn’t pretend it is. Of course, neither is this.
Now obviously we can’t go back and fix all the should of’s and could have’s.
But we can ask ourselves what of potential importance might we be missing right now?
We can go into understanding what our fear causes us to avoid.
We can accept that often our pretending creates the illusion of keeping us safe.