Developing an integrated marketing strategy is no small feat. It often involves breaking down barriers between teams to identify and agree upon a common goal. But, that’s only the beginning. A common goal does not an integrated strategy make. Integrating the process and roles of each team member or business unit is critical.
Take for instance, the chicken crossing the road. Simple enough. We all know and agree that the chicken needs to get to the other side. To accomplish this, each business unit has a plan. One is going to build a bridge. Another will dig a tunnel. Another will craft a hoverboard. Yet another is going to team up with everybody and make a human chain.
Each team member or business unit working autonomously, and not collaboratively. The result? A very confused chicken. A chicken that is unsure where to go to complete the once simple task of crossing the road.
The problem arises when teams work in silos and begin solving with tactics and solutions rather than using an integrated, collaborative approach. This, however, is not something that comes naturally in business. In his TED talk Tom Wujec illustrates variances in collaboration efforts across different industries. He found that business students attempting to collaborate on a task tend to perform below average while it comes quite naturally for kindergarteners, whose collaboration on a task yields results above average of most adults.
Is it true that all we need to know in life we learned in kindergarten? Perhaps. But as Wujec points out, what makes the kindergarteners more successful at performing the collaborative task is their willingness to test, try, and prototype and adapt. In business, we tend to have one master plan (our “integrated strategy”) with the assumption that all teams involved will follow suit and execute and we’ll gauge success at the post-mortem.
But if we think for a moment about those skills we all have had in us since kindergarten, this starts to look a bit differently. Let’s go back to the chicken we need to help across the road. A collaborative effort could look more like this: One will stop traffic. Another will try holding the chicken’s hand (err…wing?) and see how likely the chicken is to move. Another team will be working on a bridge in case all that hand-holding didn’t work.
Together, they will get that chicken across the road. And, the time and effort given on the collective solution will make that chicken very happy.
Happy chickens. The world needs more happy chickens.