Clarity First Newsletter, July 27, 2018

Clarity First
A notebook about how we work, and learn, and love and live.

This week a colleague told me how much he appreciated my “weekly letter of positivity”. It’s always great to hear first hand how your audience perceives your offer. My own creative brief for this letter, for example, doesn’t include any reference to positivity. The brief does, though, notice that my reader “wants to be inspired. S/he wants to see the cool stuff that others are doing, and the good ideas others are exploring.” Of course, in the end your brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s what your audience says it is. So, if a respected collaborator and enthusiastically regular reader thinks of this as a weekly letter of positivity, then welcome to another edition. Thank you, Bruce. Happy Friday.


It all starts with a narrative that answers: “Why do you exist?”. 

CMO Barry Nolan says that his role is simple: “Create a narrative as to why a company or a prospect would want your service, then express that to those individuals in an enterprise who will purchase the service.” He’s clear that this narrative can’t be discovered by an algorithm. Instead, it’s found by “sitting in front of customers, listening to them and understanding their problems.”
Article: CMOs, Take a Walk on the Sales Side

Organizational Culture

We are all adults working to get a job done, and we should do this together. Oh, and stop fighting.

“In Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility, Patty McCord tears down the old way of managing teams and corporate culture and presents the reader with an alternate way to recruit, motivate and create great teams that better suit this new, fast paced, agile obsessed landscape we now find ourselves in. The result is a company with the culture of ‘Freedom & Responsibility’.”
Book Review:  Powerful. Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility, by Patty McCord



An ad campaign that dares us to look at the truth

Seattle’s Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets (PSKS) has a very simple and clear mission statement: to support “homeless and at-risk youth and young adults to empower themselves and lead positive and self-sufficient lives.” To draw attention to the reality of homelessness amongst young people they ran this simple and clear made-you-look poster campaign.
Pinterest Board: Poster Campaign About Homelessness


“Digital metrics are very short-term focused, and that has led marketers into a short-term mindset.” 

“This isn’t an attack on digital, but on the short-term thinking it has created. With digital and big data came tighter targeting and a razor-sharp focus on short-term ROI. Yet, ROI increases are an addictive drug, one that’s hollowing out the brand and leaving an empty carcass.”
Article: Is Efficiency Killing Brands?


Group Process

Think like a system. Act like an entrepreneur.

The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) notes the high instance of socially minded innovations that ‘bounce off’ the system they are intended to impact. “Rather than scaling to create systems change, many innovations experience a ‘systems immune response’ whereby a complex set ‘barriers to change’ render the innovation unused and redundant.” In response they offer a new methodology: ‘think like a system, act like an entrepreneur’. “By developing a rich systemic understanding of a challenge, designers can then select the most entrepreneurial opportunities for change – pre-empting and identifying ‘hacks’ around the barriers to change.”
Report: From Design Thinking to Systems Change.


Gender Dynamics, Change and Transition, Branding

When masculinity gets rethought, men rise. Women rise. All humans rise.

“Masculinity used to be a place of strength, power, stoicism. But the cracks are showing: Men now start businesses at half the rate of women, for instance, and they represent 70 percent of all suicides. Even the very building blocks of maleness are declining: Testosterone has fallen 17 percent, and the Y chromosome is showing signs of crumbling. The world men created and ruled doesn’t work anymore, and they don’t have the tools to fix it. The media needs to help.”
Article: The End of Masculinity: 5 Steps Into the Future for Brands


Organizational Culture

Let’s reframe “soft skills” as “core skills.”

“It is without irony that I share this fact: In a Wall Street Journal survey of over 900 executives, 92% reported soft skills, including communication, curiosity, and critical thinking are as important as technical skills.”
Article: Hire the Heart and Train the Brain

Let’s connect

Meet me there?

Next weekend, from August 3 – 5, I’m going to sit and participate in the Integral Peacemaker Training at the Windhorse Hill Retreat Center in Deerfield, MA. They had me when they promised that we’d build skills “for self-regulation, communication (NVC), collaboration and group dynamics. Discover how the Integral framework and Spiral Dynamics theory can help you frame complexity and expand your perspectives.” Fleet Maull is teaching and seats are still available.

Then, the next week, on August 9th, I’m going to be a guest on Nation1099’s weekly live stream, Next Level Freelancing. I’m looking forward to talking with host Robert McGuire about the brands that solopreneurs and freelancers already own, and how best to build them. Registration is free, and we’ll be in and done in less than 45 minutes. Meet me there?




“Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest and Adrian Younge formed The Midnight Hour as an ode to the Harlem Renaissance and with a determination to push that legacy forward.

“They assembled a cast of talented musicians to bring songs from their debut to life in our studio. Let the music transport you to another time and another place. Enjoy.”
Video: Watch The Midnight Hour Perform Live In The Studio


Images of the Week

“Fitacola is the retro collage art and illustration project created in 2005 by Portuguese partners in art and life, Graça and Carlos Quitéria. Based in Caldas da Rainha in Western central Portugal, Fitacola translates to ‘adhesive tape’ in Portuguese. The duo makes original creative artworks—from illustrations and paper cuttings to digital and animated collage projects.”
Article: Experimental Collage Art By Fitacola


What’s Clarity First?

If you’re new to Clarity First, it’s the weekly newsletter by Mitch Anthony. I help people use their brand – their purpose, values, and stories – as a tool of transformation. Learn more.

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