The incessant need to reinvent yourself means it’s only too easy for a company to lose its way. Look at Starbucks — in Howard Schultz’s book Onward, he describes the perspective of a leader who said yes to too much when he should have been asking, “Is this right?” It took a major financial setback for Starbucks to realize it had lost its purpose.
We forget how young today’s leading brands are— Google was founded in 1998, and Facebook was founded in 2004. When you’re that young, it’s hard to know exactly who you are.
And then there’s IBM, which was founded in 1911. IBM knows what it’s compelled to do each day, what stokes the fire in every employee’s belly — advancing innovation. That powerful compulsion is part of the company’s Drive.
Drive is important to the success of an organization because it’s the same no matter what business you’re in. As IBM evolved from a tabulating machine company to a computer and mainframe manufacturer, the brand focused on finding technology that would change the world. Today, whether it’s with artificial intelligence or solar-to-electric conversion cells, IBM continues to focus on advancing innovation.
The reason a company’s Drive stays alive over the years is because the employees are ingrained with the same compulsions. They are the life force of Drive.
Don’t worry, Drive won’t limit the kinds of people you hire. You’ll learn that Drive will manifest itself in many ways. A need to “advance innovation” might be clear-cut in R&D, but know that a sales team will use that Drive to target the right customers, streamline the sales process, think of new ways to close deals, and find tools that let them change customer interactions for the better.
Today, you need to identify your company’s Drive. Work with senior leaders to find out what your Obsession is — what’s at the heart of your company’s existence.
Then you can start adding Drive to the measurements that help you take stock of your company’s performance — marketing metrics, talent measurements, and financial results. Use it to align your employees and programs not just to the company’s goals, but also to the organization’s identity. When there is pressure to reinvent yourself, you’ll know that a new product or service won’t change who you are. And you will thrive.
Join us for our webinar tomorrow, August 14, Putting Drive Into Gear — Executing on Your Company’s Obsession to Achieve Market Supremacy.