Insights from Kevin Roberts from the World Business Forum (Sydney)

After an unexpected invitation to the Pentagon to discuss how the US could improve its international image, Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi was introduced to the concept of VUCA, a world which is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.

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We live in a SUPERVUCA world

After an unexpected invitation to the Pentagon to discuss how the US could improve its international image, Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi was introduced to the concept of VUCA, a world which is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.

Robert’s take is that we live in a SUPERVUCA world, which is vibrant, unreal, crazy and astounding. Change is driving the new economy.

He says: “Whatever business you are in, whatever country you are in, wherever you are living, an irrefutable fact is that things are never going to be the way they were, the way we would like them to be; they are going to be all over the place.”

He thinks marketing is dead. As things shift, the role of marketing becomes not to build a brand, but to create a movement. He says we have moved from the era of new to the age of now, which is shifting from:

  • attention to participation
  • information to inspiration
  • interruption to interaction
  • return on investment to a return on involvement
  • pumping markets to creative movements

Kevin Roberts’ top tips for creative leadership

  • The CEO’s role is to code: Revolution begins with language, so its power should never be underestimated. The CEO’s role is to become the Chief Excitement Officer and the CMO’s role is to be the Chief Magic Officer.
  • Creativity is just connecting things. The four things that foster a creative environment are responsibility, learning, recognition and joy. Each and every employee should feel these four things.
  • Creative leaders believe in magic. Success will come to companies who will come up with idea after idea.  The best leaders will inspire lots of small ideas and bring them to market at speed.
  • Creative leaders emotionalise: this is because emotions lead to action faster than rational arguments. If people love something and get enthusiastic about it, they act.
  • Creative leaders recognise that today’s consumer sees it, searches it, shops it and shares it.
  • Creative leaders discover truth. Whilst big data is important for uncovering insights, big emotion is even more important.
  • Creative leaders make brands irresistible. This goes back to Roberts’ belief that brands should become lovemarks.
  • Creative leaders flow. They do this by eliminating 40% of what people do so you can focus on the important stuff.
  • Creative leaders execute. He showed in traditional companies, only 20% of their time is spent on execution, whereas in companies such as Google and Facebook, the CEO spends 70% of their day on execution.
  • The role of the leader is to create creative leaders. Roberts believes that everyone is born creative, this needs to be nurtured. He also believes that anyone can become a leader and the role of the CEO is to bring out the best in their people.

Read more insights from the 2014 World Business Forum keynote speakers.  http://business.nab.com.au/tag/world-business-forum/>

NAB was recently privileged to sponsor the World Business Forum in Sydney – two days of inspiration, collaboration and provocation by some of the world’s leading business innovators. These insights were generated live on the day by NAB and were informed by the guest speakers’ presentations.