One day you're creating what you think are killer marketing tactics that take 6 months to develop, the next day you wake up to find will.i.am has just lapped you through the TV commercial work he's wedged into his spare time between prepping for the Super Bowl, releasing a new album, touring, and producing tracks for several of the hottest acts in music. It feels like it's no longer enough to be just one person; to succeed you have to be several. That's the point. It's time to be your own best mash up: The Power Triad. Jealous of that certain musician who seems to be doing everything and better than almost everybody? It appears he's leveraging The Power Triad to the max.
What "The Power Triad"? At base, this isn't a new idea, it's the hyphenate. In Hollywood, the writer-director-producer is almost cliché. In sports, while there's certainly a history of famous specialists like home run hitter Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio was lauded for his excellence in all the major playing skills and became known as "the Greatest Baseball Player Who Ever Lived". And good marketers have always been a combination of social scientist, creators and business people. This is so true that when Frans Johansson came out with his book, "The Medici Effect" a few years ago -- as good and valuable as it is -- why it was being touted as "breakthrough" was a mystery. As he freely admits right in the title, the idea of combining proficiencies from a variety of disciplines has been around since, well at least as far back as the Medici. Still, it's a worthwhile read.
What's changed though is the absolute need to pursue the approach with unerringly well focused intent, and at every level, from how we approach job role success to single project results. A lot of Johansson's efforts are soundly focused on innovation. I think the application of the multidisciplinary principle is also valuable more broadly.
I'm calling this hyper cross disciplinary approach "The Power Triad." The idea is that when planning your approach to succeeding, you break your task down into the three most important components. Then, for each of the three components you ask yourself, "what disciplines or professions do this kind of thing really well?". Next you place them into a triad action structure that helps you prioritize your focal points for the greatest results.
Here's an example we used at a recent event marketing conference session:
If you're creating a virtual marketing experience intended to move people to some specific action, break that task down into its three most essential elements.
1. Asking yourself who understands motivation best, you select the field of psychology as the first discipline required to tap in order to succeed.
2. You identify that a virtual experience plays out on media screens, and select movies as a discipline that understands how to keep people engaged over extended periods of time while giving them new perspectives through on screen experiences, and that producers make this happen, on budget.
3. Given the newness of virtual events, and the inherent political risks in driving that kind of change in an organization --especially in the context of a down economy in which every penny spent needs to yield results -- you identify that the event needs to be measured in a way that's beyond reproach. Since the metrics of the finance team are gospel in most organizations, you choose this as the third discipline in the triad, and the standard bearer of this function, the CFO, as the focal point.
With your three disciplines chosen, you roll it all up into an articulated Power Triad by marrying one or more verbs with each discipline. In this example we would say that in order to produce a successful virtual event one needs to:
"Think like a psychologist, manage like a movie producer, and measure like a CFO."
Then you follow through by studying what top professionals in those three disciplines do in their work to succeed, and adapt those best practices to the specifics of your situation. In this way The Power Triad helps you focus on the three most powerful things you can do to optimize results. Try it. The more you do it, the faster you'll be able to develop more -- and more powerful -- Power Triads until it becomes your standard operating procedure. Use it for everything from isolated tasks to your approach to job role success.
Do it now. Will.i.am is gaining on you. What's your Power Triad?