I’ve worked in a LOT of companies over the years. Literally hundreds.
So that means I’ve worked with a LOT of people and seen a lot of corporate cultures and an idea has become pretty apparent.
Some people are really good at knowing what is.
And some people are really good at knowing what could be.
And they generally drive each other nuts.
Let’s talk about the Knowing What Is People first. I’ll call them KWIPs.
They’re great managers. They can keep track of everything and understand complex technologies and such. They never forget. They never lose anything. They can get all the ants marching in the same direction. We all need those people because they keep the wheels on the train AND keep it running on time. I love KWIPs. Their organizations skills are priceless… But.
You need the others as well. The Knowing What Could Be People (KWCBPs). They’re the crazy ones. They’re the ones that look at the universe and don’t see whats there, but see what’s missing. They see the holes. They ask the stupid questions. They look at the mountain of complexity and explain it in one sentence.
They’re also utterly unorganized. They’re easily distracted because those distractions will lead them to unexpected and often wonderful places. Their office is a mess. They lose files. They don’t dot i’s and whatever to q’s.
They’re a pain in the ass.
But you need them. And you need to listen to them.
I know them. I’m one of them.
I’ve spent time in companies full of Knowing What Is People (remember, KWIP’s). I’ve always been impressed by what they can accomplish but over and over and over and over again, I’ve found things in their company, their brand, their marketing that they didn’t see. I found that capo d’astro bar that they never recognized. They’re happy when I do it. And they give me money, and that makes me happy.
They get a small dose of KWCBP thinking and they scratch their heads and wonder how it came about. But they usually realize that something new was just served. Ideas that can change perceptions and tell stories and open customers up to new insights. Ideas that came in from out of nowhere or left field or the mutterings of a lunatic. They recognize ideas that can be turned into action and that translates into processes and things and work that they can operate.
I’ve always looked at KSIPs and were amazed at their prowess at getting things done. And a thousand times in my career, I know they’ve looked at me and wondered where the hell that came from. How did he come up with that so fast.
I don’t know what the answer is but I do know that for a brand to be successful, you need both. And they both have to listen to each other and balance each other out. If your organization has too many KWIPs, bring in the occasional KWCBP to kick over the tables and create a little chaos and figure out what could be. Then sit back and absorb what they say. It could change everything.