Insights Organisational Change

Creating Cult Status

I’ve just read Tim Duggan’s remarkable book Cult Status. It’s a fascinating insight into the way millennial-run businesses are changing the landscape of commerce, work-life balance and the way we perceive brands.

Tim’s been around the millennial revolution for most of his working life. He has first-hand knowledge of the challenges of appealing to the fickle, often illogical ways millennials engage with suppliers and service providers. He led a very successful media business in Australia in the early 2000s and has gone on to achieve remarkable results with Junkee Media, Australia’s leading digital publisher and content agency for millennials.

He’s interviewed hundreds of people all over the world to distil the essence of what makes a successful cult-status brand. It boils down to following a seven-step process he claims is a common thread. I won’t list all seven steps here — you’ll need to read the book. But they do follow a logical path to achieving success, provided you have the necessary determination and passion for meeting the needs of a generation seeking more than just great products and services.

Steps one to three are: Think Impact First; Question All The Small Things and Refine your Superpower.

Think Impact First is about purpose and visualising outcomes. Most successful entrepreneurs can envisage and articulate a tangible impact they can make on peoples lives, from the get-go.

Question All The Small Things refers to the need unravel the way business is traditionally done and question whether there are better, smarter ways to do things. In essence, they are asking ‘why?’ – a lot.

Refining Your Superpower explores how successful people concentrate on getting better and better at one thing, becoming an expert, while recognising success doesn’t always mean being big.

The book concludes by reminding readers there’s no magic bullet to success. Hard work and clarity in your strategy and execution rarely have short cuts.

One other step intrigued me: Step six: Lead From The Middle. Duggan points out many successful businesses growing in this era are led by people exhibiting very different leadership skills to those of 10 or 15 years ago. Leaders today tend to build a strong sense of belonging to those on the journey with them, be they team members, partners or customers. New-age leaders are better listeners and enablers to others around them.

The book is packed with case studies and examples. It’s no longer about creating great products and services; businesses need a higher purpose, to make an impact — not just a profit, give something back — not only supply a product but advance the life-experience of being human. An excellent read for anyone questioning the purpose of their business or themselves for that matter.

PS: For those who can’t wait for the book to arrive, there’s a great interview on YouTube with Glen James with Tim describing the seven steps. Enjoy.