“Learning to Leap. Give it a try – you are going to love it.”

October 22, 2011

By Jacqueline Touma, Microsoft Corporation, jacquiet@microsoft.com, Twitter @jacqueline008

Enlightening, impactful and with just enough craziness that you know she is on to something. Dana Anderson presentation today at the ANA Masters of Marketing Conference in Phoenix made you want to be "hopped up on Dana...". Dana's fresh approach to disruptive and transformational marketing helped me understand we are living in a VUCA world (Denise Caron). What the hell did she talk about you may ask? V- Volatile, U- Uncertain, C-Complex and A - Ambiguous.

To leap requires breaking our usual norms and boundaries. It requires flexibility, learning through immersion and trials, acceptance of intuition, uncoupling winning from the need for a solution and engagement with complexity. Taking the leap, really doing these things in your business can turn VUCA from negativity to visionary, understanding, clarity and agility.

Dana emphasized about being open to your destination, that it may change and how mediocrity was exhausting. This echo's Thomas L. Friedman's from NY Times talk just earlier that average is over, it's dead. The takeaway for me was about confidence, tenacity and the ability to take the risk - to leap.

Leaping at Kraft, as Dana commented is about people, pilots and process - and it's not without significant risk. There has to be a belief and a supporting culture to do so.

This came to life in one of her stories she told about one of her executive colleagues using a 'blank check approach'. To allow marketers to have the freedom to do the right things, the right programs and give people the right, the freedom beyond the numbers. The constraint shouldn't be the budgets but people's imaginations. Out of the 16 requests, 13 were approved and the employees treated the money better than if it were there own she went on to note.

"Feels like a girdle but flies like a bird". Leaping is not about blindly jumping. Kraft follows a four box process of that covers every aspect of the consumer experience. It's excruciating upfront and at first, but then there is an exhilaration of lifting up, of taking flight. Numa Numa helped lift our spirits and drive home the message.

She ended her presentation with these parting words of wisdom from an apropos source: "Things much happen and often do to people as brainy and footsy as you. "  Dr. Suess.

Inspirational. Thought-provoking. Mad genius. There was so much more in her presentation that I could hope to address in this brief blog. Go download the slides from ANA, engage with Kraft Foods, connect with her and, above all, try leaping.

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