There’s a new book out by Randy Harrington and Carmen Voilleque called “Evolutionaries: Transformational Leadership: The Missing Link in Your Organizational Chart.” Randy and Carmen are brilliant, inspirational, and most of all, observant. They are consultants by trade, and any organization lucky enough to work with one or both of these individuals is vastly better off for knowing them. I’m fortunate to have known them both for almost 20 years now, and count them as counselors, friends, and an ongoing source of inspiration.
Their book is actually about being (or recognizing) an Evolutionary leader within your organization. Early on in the book, Randy and Carmen articulate what it means to be among Evolutionaries.
“An Evolutionary is:
- A Planner: Evolutionaries need a cause and a good, flexible plan – they need to be attached to a strategic outcome that they are invested in and believe in.
- A Leader: Evolutionaries must know the business at hand and possess the kind of “street credibility” with your organization’s people that garners trust, respect and followers.
- A Communicator: Evolutionaries are experts at delivering clear and inspiring messages. They can adapt to the language culture of those they lead, and they are willing to learn new “languages” as necessary to facilitate positive transformation for an organization.
- A Teammate: Evolutionaries aren’t just great leaders, they are great teammates and great followers. In fact, if you don’t have a strong desire to be a part of a team, or follow great leadership when you see it, you are probably not an Evolutionary.
- An Innovator: Evolutionaries are skilled in the business of predicting the future. They know how to identify trends, seek out thought leadership, and be awake and aware of new opportunities; they are open to change, comfortable with ambiguity and highly adaptable.
- A Guide: Evolutionaries are masters in the art and science of Guidance. They are confident in the “trail”; they know how to facilitate, inspire, foster trust, stay the course and bring people successfully toward a desired end state.”
Evolutionaries Make Great Marketing Leaders
Without too much of a stretch, the principles in the book and the very definition of what an Evolutionary is, apply directly to being a good marketing professional. Marketing professionals often fall into a very strange no-man’s land where, regardless of their actual position on the organization’s chart, they are tapped to work on the highest levels of strategy for an organization.
- A Planner – All marketers need a plan, but the very nature of a marketing plan expects a degree of flexibility. For the Marketer understanding what the strategic necessities are, while balancing that against a “nice to have” is a critical to the marketer’s and the business’ long term success.
- A Leader – The first place new marketers get tripped up is often in the street credibility war. Marketers have a tendency to walk in and tell seasoned managers and sales people what works and what doesn’t. And while, from a Brand perspective, they are probably right, selling that to the managers and sales people will only happen when they are able to back up their talk with results.
- A Communicator – Let’s face facts, if you’re not able to deliver an inspiring message in your capacity as a marketer, you might as well change professions right now.
- A Teammate – Being a teammate is an integral part of being a good marketing professional. The interesting part of being a marketing professional is that your team will bridge departments, offices, and management levels. As a great marketer, you’re going to have to sell your ideas to all the corners of your organization.
- An Innovator – In my experience, the very best marketers are innovators. The whole point of marketing is really combining and recombining disparate ideas into brand new concepts, that are both appealing and inspire passion.
- A Guide – Confidence is a key component to selling your idea, internally and externally. If you don’t believe in your idea, no one else will wither. So be confident, inspire, and foster trust among the internal audience at your organization.
So, while Evolutionaries was not meant as a recipe for a good marketer, there are definitely correlations between Evolutionaries and good marketing professionals. To be sure, there are additional aspects of Evolutionaries that are not necessary for being a good marketer, but on on it’s face — it’s a great guide for becoming a great marketer.
When you’re looking for your next great business book to read, give Evolutionaries: Transformational Leadership: The Missing Link in Your Organizational Chart, a chance — you’ll enjoy the opportunity to learn from Randy and Carmen, and whether you are an Evolutionary or not — being able to identify them in your organization and adopt some of the their traits to apply to your marketing toolbox will help you out tremendously.