Shawn Parr: 10 Resolute Ideas To Start Your New Year

Shawn Parr: 10 Resolute Ideas To Start Your New Year

When facing down the New Year there is power in the perspective that comes from revisiting why you exist as a business and exploring the beliefs and operating values you live by.

Shawn Parr, Bulldog Drummond
  • 2 january 2012

Put the punch back in your purpose.

There is power in the perspective that comes from revisiting why you exist as a business and exploring the beliefs and operating values you live by. While the bottom line is a non-negotiable, how you get to it is. Make sure your entire organization understands your reason for being and that leading with values is what will make the journey one to be proud of beyond the dollars and cents. Can everyone answer what difference are you making in people’s lives, why you exist, and what you believe in as a brand?

Start your own love fest.

Fed up reading stories about Zappos being the best company on the planet for customer service and culture, Southwest for their brilliant simplicity, or TOMS for their generosity? Don’t use them as examples. Use them as incredible inspiration to light a fire in your brand’s soul. Get under the hood of your brand, dig for where it intersects with the passion points in your consumers’ lives and the reasons people come to work every day. Find your internal and external champions and explore how they are deployed.

Unleash your inner pirates.

Complacency comes from comfort and following all the rules. Every company has their mavericks, non-conformists, and brilliant ones who don’t ever agree with the status quo. These people challenge convention and stand out because they think differently from the rest. Instead of treating them with mild curiosity or leaving them on the sidelines, actively seek them out and recruit them into your own renegade army of pirates to tackle the most complex challenges you have as a brand.

Wake up stupid every day.

Get up every morning with the attitude that you don’t have any of the answers and that you need to look at every major challenge through a fresh lens. Make sure you surround yourself with a group of people who are smarter than you are, are in-the-know and have the answers in the subject areas that matter to your brand. Be a sponge for knowledge and have your finger on the pulse of, and process for, feeding relevant trends and consumer insights into your teams for action.

Talk to the people who matter.

Get out of your all day internal meetings and get into the lives of your customers. They will inspire and inform you. They can become cocreators and collaborators in helping you unlock the answers to what is next for your brand. Design effective and efficient ways to participate in their lives and observe their behavior. And, more specifically, challenge your research partners to deliver the most illustrative ways to connect with them.

Inspire and challenge your people.

If you operate on the premise that you should work hard and play hard, your team should have very clear, result-oriented goals for the year as well as a calendar of events and inputs that inspire and educate them to think differently.

Share the plan and charge the hill.

Make sure your team has a clear idea of the company’s plans for the year, knows where it’s going and why. Challenge them to play their part in achieving it, and celebrate the small victories and successes on the way.

The world’s a stage. Tell your story.

Like a great joke that is told poorly, if your brand’s story is uninteresting and unclear, people will ignore it. The brand’s narrative needs to be clear, compelling, and memorable both internally and externally. Most brands have an external advertising program but often ignore internal storytelling. Step back and look at who you’re delivering your brand’s story to. Make sure the story is interesting, entertaining, and engaging. It’s also worth stepping back and looking at how your own story is being told. Do the people who you work with know what makes you tick?

Say no to boring.

No more boring meetings, no more boring people, no more boring initiatives. Inject energy, education, and a sense of urgency into everything you and your team does.

Cut the crap.

Every company operates with layers of unnecessary waste. Whether it’s people, process, projects, costs, or time spent on the unimportant. Look for the unnecessary and superfluous and remove the inefficiencies.


Shawn Parr is the The Guvner & CEO of Bulldog Drummond, an innovation and design consultancy headquartered in San Diego whose clients and partners have included Starbucks, Diageo, Jack in the Box, Adidas, MTV, Nestle, Pinkberry, American Eagle Outfitters, IDEO, Virgin, Disney, Nike, Mattel, Heineken, Annie’s Homegrown, The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, CleanWell, The Honest Kitchen and World Vision. 


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