“Doers” need to recognize the power of the ensemble. Kind of goes back to the fact that everyone is incredible and extraordinary in their own right, and the idea that you need to have a team that works well together. But also an ensemble where there is a diversity of talents, abilities, strategies, and tactics. Doers should learn to appreciate everyone’s unique talents and yes, even their quirks––because they fit perfectly with someone else’s, and that is what makes a good ensemble.

“Ensemble” is the overall theme I have come up with for 2018, for myself, and I think you should embrace it as well. I guess I am going to call this the umbrella under which I am going to make my Unpredictable Predictions for this new year. I have been procrastinating on prognosticating because of all the noise I spoke about in the last blog, but I wanted to at least come up with a few relevant ideas for you as you look at your business and personal life unfolding in 2018. So here is the theme that has settled in and here is how you can use it: Make your businesses and personal life an ensemble this year, where all the parts are taken together, so that each part is considered only in relation to the whole.

In other words, in 2018 it won’t be a specific element that will be the star, but how everything––the group, specific strategies, tactics, buzzwords, all of it––come together in the perfect ensemble to accomplish your big picture goal.

This concept first became apparent to me in the late 90s when part of my work with New Organics food company was trekking around to the sets of popular TV shows and asking them if I could place products around their sets. My favorite set for the New Organics company food products was the set of Friends. The set designer liked our products herself, so I was more than willing to give it to all the actors and stock the shelves of the kitchen and the “Central Perk” coffee shop set.

I was talking with the set designer as I placed products around the set and I asked how I could get Jennifer Anniston to pick up a product. She immediately told me that this was an ensemble cast and that it only worked when the cast was all working together. In other words, there where no stars on that show.

So, think of your business (or even your life for that matter) in the same way as that set designer talked about the ensemble cast of Friends, a group working together for mutual good, but without a particular star. That is the message that I want to convey.

So, here goes… In my opinion, all of your deals, interactions, transactions, strategies, and growth opportunities should contain an ensemble of the things listed below in 2018. And all your presentations and your articulation should somehow include the following buzzwords: Artificial intelligence, block chain technology, social learning, podcast, live streaming, unique community, individually unique consumers, consumer specific and of course the word ensemble.

7 Things Your Ensemble Should Embrace In 2018

  1. Think Big, Big, Big. A purpose driven ensemble makes your group much stronger. Start with a big thought process headline that your ensemble can rally around. For me, the major headlines are “Eliminating the Opioid Crisis,” “Natural Remedies vs Pharmaceuticals,” and “Trash to Treasure,” for some examples. But whatever your big headline is, make sure that it is at 30,000 ft. And after you write it down, ask yourself if you can aspire higher.
  2. Some type of artificial intelligence needs to be included in the ensemble. No matter what you are doing there are multiple data points and connections that with a little thought process can be predictive.
  3. Use block chain technologies. This is the data collections and ledger system used for cryptocurrency. Some type of blockchain ledger data collection should be part of your ensemble even if its not immediately used but you see that it will be used in the future.
  4. Change the term social media to social learning. Make sure you are using social learning to constantly learn what your consumers are looking for, and make sure you are adjusting and reacting in real time. This learning can be included in the first two of artificial intelligence and block chain (are you getting how this ensemble is coming together?)
  5. Create a community around your growth strategy. Community can be local or digital, but the key to making it work is that you must remember to feed the community, and feed it often. Blogs and Podcasts, live streaming through social channels like Facebook, and even Alexa are all great ways to feed your community and should be included and used more often than you can imagine. This community building is mission critical in pulling the ensemble together.
  6. Realize how different your consumers actually are (from you and from each other.) People you interact with, as well as the individuals within your community are all coming to you from different perspectives, and are looking for different things. Don’t try to paint them with the same brush. Recognize all of their unique attributes.
  7. Embrace the fast pace of change. As fast as I can write these ideas and buzzwords they may already be changing, right in front of us, in real time. But the ensemble concept doesn’t change as ideas and buzzwords do, just keep adding to it and changing it as needed and it will simply become more textured and better.

Just like my experience on the set of Friends, this ensemble thought came through the multiple family interactions over the holidays as well. No individual stars, no individual drama, just the ensemble of sibling idiosyncrasies and family expectations playing out. I thought how wonderful that this familial ensemble works. Then as I was working on the unpredictable predictions, the ensemble of these predictions seemed to make more sense than focusing on just one or two.

As a sort of post script, after I had finished this blog, I found this post about tech trends for 2018 at Deloitte Insights and thought how perfectly it illustrates my thought processes on the idea of the ensemble. It will give you a much more detailed explanation of the symphony or ensemble effect. YEAH!

Hey Maestro, you have the wand––