Too much sizzle, not enough steak

I can remember some years ago when I was being interviewed for a senior digital role by the CIO of a large company, a job that I eventually took, we spent quite a bit of time talking about sizzle versus steak.  Talk is cheap and there is a good deal of it everywhere from consultants, strategists, agencies and vendors.  The idea was that it was very easy to put together colorful charts, 80 page power points and talk about customer experience, without ever having to actually implement anything in large, complex companies.  The both of us had seen enough of this in our careers and this company was trying to build a culture of execution rather than one of inaction.

Looking at my Twitter and LinkedIn feed it is remarkable how much of this ‘sizzle’ I continue to see. Maybe I am not following the right people but I doubt it.  I am following and reading work from very sharp, intelligent people.  The breakdown appears to be whether any of these charts, power points or chatter help people do their everyday jobs in their organizations leveraging digital marketing to solve customer problems.  I have put together enough presentations to know that senior leadership loves to see the bright, positive, colorful slides.  I also know none of our staff cares for it.  They need solutions on how to get things done and what their leadership is doing to make their jobs something they want to continue doing.  The ‘steak’ is what employees care about.

Give your team and employees more ways that they can deliver against the goals that have been set for them.  Last I checked no power point does that.  Help them get through the politics that permeate and pollute our work environments, contaminating their ability to get anything done.  Give them the right tools (or new tools) to help to solve business problems but also give them the right training to make sure those tools are fully utilized.  Work on helping them feel like what they are doing is adding value to the company and helping their customers.  Finally, make sure that they feel like they work in a company more focused on steak and not sizzle.