“Disruption” is Jeff Hayzlett’s middle name, and boy, did the crowd at day 2 of Connected Marketing Week and SES San Francisco sure need a good wake-up call. You may know Jeff from his days appearing alongside Donald Trump in the Celebrity Apprentice while he was still CMO at Eastman Kodak. His success in steering the iconic Kodak brand to once again lead the industry in photography and imaging cannot be denied, and from his presentation, it’s obvious that causing a disruption was his primary M.O.
Disruption can be construed a number of ways, and it certainly should not be considered walking into a boardroom and dropping F-bombs left and right (although Jeff’s presentation may have come off that way). I know I’ve been accused of similar so it’s not a point of criticism, but sometimes it’s the only way to impress the importance in shifting the status quo. However, disruption is only the first step in a process. This was made abundantly clear throughout Jeff’s presentation: disruption leads to challenge and evolution.
Challenging your people is also extremely important. It’s obvious that Jeff’s seen it all too often, which makes for a great leader. He preaches (quite literally actually) that “passion is not a substitute for planning” and that “creative people should never compromise what they do, or how they do it.” Reading between the lines, Jeff’s saying you have to keep your creative people engaged, challenged, and free to make mistakes.
A recurring theme throughout his presentation was not to be afraid of failure. “Big mistakes are great learning opportunities. Don’t make small mistakes, make ’em BIG.” This same sentiment is echoed throughout the halls of the Moscone Center each and every day of Connected Marketing Week, if you listen closely enough to guys like Tim Ash, Bryan Eisenberg, Avinash Kaushik, etc. The web allows you to fail faster, but you have to aim for either winning big, or failing miserably. No one likes an effort that “sorta” works.
Maybe he’d disagree with my take on his presentation, but it’s obvious that Jeff was also preaching the fact that organizations have to change over time. Challenges associated with change can be too much for some people, so changes may be necessary to push your team forward and evolve from smart to brilliant.
What a way to start off SES San Francisco! Thanks to Jeffrey Hayzlett for the inspirational talk, and the book signing!