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Kurian Tharakan, The 7 Essential Stories Charismatic Leaders Tell — InnovaBuzz 459

Kurian Tharakan, StrategyPeak Sales & Marketing Advisors

  • The 7 essential stories charismatic leaders tell
  • How great leaders transform their people
  • That entrepreneurship is a journey of personal growth and learning

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Show Notes from this episode with Kurian Tharakan of StrategyPeak Sales & Marketing Advisors

Key points and takeaways from this episode include:

  • It’s not about your business. It’s about YOU. Your business may or may not be the one you’ll eventually do great things with but you can become great in the process.
  • Being a charismatic leader is all about a personal transformation. Charismatic leaders are leaders who are light up, energise, and infect other people with their enthusiasm.
  • Charismatic leaders make people come alive, and their people make other people come alive as well.
  • Great marketing takes its cues from great religion. Everything that you need to bake into a great religion to proselytize and exponentially bring more people to it are very much the same things that great marketing has to have.
  • Every brand wants true believers, not in just in the product but in the brand itself — its mission, vision, ethos, and character. Those true believers are what gives the brand value because without them, you have nothing.
  • The 7 Essential Stories Charismatic Leaders Tell
  1. Creation/Origin — how did it all begin?
  2. Identity, beliefs, and values — your highest ideals and principles
  3. The BIG idea — the central organising principle that guides everything else. It doesn’t have to be just one idea. It could be a series of big ideas.
  4. The enemy we face — the challenge we have to overcome.
  5. Mighty wins — the macro wins or trends that are present in the environment.
  6. The journey we must undertake.
  7. Why we will win? — the meta-narrative that combines the previous six stories into a single more succinct telling but with the addition of key elements that will guarantee the win and allow our journey to fully flourish.
  • All business and organisations are sailing ships. They need wind to power the sails. These winds are the macro-trends, the societal, economical, technological, environmental, and political trends that you need to understand where they’re heading. Don’t just go building a big boat without knowing the availability of power or the direction of the wind (macro-trends), otherwise the entire ship may capsize even before it starts sailing. Or it may be just bobble around the water without any wind to power it or the wind may be going in the wrong direction.
  • Culture is an always “ON” operating system. It guides our behaviours even when there is no one around to reward or punish that behaviour.
  • Culture is something that exists whether or not you want it to. It is neither here nor there. It is neither right nor wrong. It is simply the operating system that needs to be deliberately engineered into an organisation.
  • A great culture gives you the result you want it to.
  • Values are the core central part of a culture. It is our values that allow people to come alive and know what they have to do in the absence of someone telling them what to do.
  • The 7 Pillars of Culture
  1. Organisation Structure — is it a flat or hierarchical organisation?
  2. Language and Writing — the form of language you use, communication method.
  3. Religion — the principles and tenets of an organisation, what do you worship and how do you worship?
  4. The form of government — autocracy, despotic government, democracy etc. How are decisions being made?
  5. Economic system — how do you create value? Who are the participants in the ecosystem? How do you grow and maintain the overall economic system?
  6. The Arts — taking the core utility value of whatever you produce and lifting it to the level of an art.
  7. Customs and traditions — reinforcing the values and belief systems of culture.
  • Worshipping the boss is a bad culture.
  • Worship the values that you hold dearly. Worship the highest principle that you aspire to uphold. That is what creates the basis of an organisation’s religion.
  • Infusing the 7 Pillars of Culture with the 7 essential stories is how you make people in the organisation come alive.
  • Identify the values that you hold and rank them from the highest order of priority based on what’s really working internally for you, your team members, and by comparison to those who recently left the company.
  • Product-market fit, product-channel fir, and merchant-market fit are the 3 pillars that guarantee success of an organisation.
  • You have to be an absolute expert in your industry, in your product, and in your customer to be able to infuse your store and your products with the proper momentum and direction to be relevant, not only today but for tomorrow’s buyers as well.
  • It all comes down to the value you are trying to create, who are you trying to create the value for, and what are the values that you aspire to be while creating that value. Together, these 3 ideas bring something that is unique to yourself.
  • Understanding what customers value is key to everything. When you embed your organisation’s value system into your product and align it with your customer’s value system, you create a foundation of longevity.
  • Beliefs are not something that you think about. They are something you think with through your lens. Your core belief system is your values. You cannot possibly move forward any argument in a direction that is mutually beneficial for everyone until you have those common values.
  • You cannot embed anything into the culture without embedding it into the people’s minds because that is where culture resides.
  • You are never too old to know that you have a lot more to learn.
  • In whatever you do, your personality is what leads you to anything you touch, do, accomplish, or destroy. Your values will come through in one way or another, and you cannot fake your way for too long.

The Buzz — Our Innovation Round

  1. #1 thing to be more innovative — Be well-read. Expose yourself to many different things. Inspiration comes from a lot of different places, and the best inspiration for your industry comes from a cross-industry inspiration.
  2. Best thing for new ideas — To not think. Meditate. Start your day with something that doesn’t involve your mind going 800 miles an hour trying to figure things out. You’ll be surprised at not only what comes to you but also how you’ll handle your day.
  3. Favourite tool for innovation — Wikipedia. Your level of knowledge is not nearly as complete as you think it is.
  4. Keep project/client on track — Lay out what you are going to do in a graphical or schedule form. Never rely on verbal communication about what the deliverables are. Write it down and make sure to provide regular updates of what happened or did not happen. Your clients will forgive you for a lot of things. What they won’t forgive you for is not communicating with them.
  5. Differentiate — Be different in kind. There are 2 types of differentiation — difference in degree and difference in kind. The best differentiation is difference in kind.

To Be a Leader

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Cool Things About Kurian

  • He’s also Managing Director of Social Lite, an eCommerce marketing agency for Shopify merchants.
  • He’s Co-founder of the Tharakan Prizes in Entrepreneurship, a global initiative to encourage entrepreneurship skills with post-secondary students.
  • Prior to StrategyPeak, he was a vice-president sales & marketing for an Alberta based software firm where his team achieved notable wins with several members of the US Fortune 500.

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