“To play to your strengths, you need to know what they are!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
Watch this video.
I spent the better part of two days – while working on many other projects – putting it together. it took so long because every time I made a change (typo, video error) it had to ‘recompile’ or ‘reassemble,’ which takes a lot of processing time. It takes a level of attention to detail that is not really my skill set; it’s not one of my strengths.
The video itself plays to one of my real strengths – my real superpower – and that is relating the future to the key strategic issues that a CEO needs to address today.
What’s the video all about? The future of AI obviously – and the key point I am making today with everything I am doing is that it’s not just about ChatGPT. It’s about the AI Megatrends. Those are even bigger; they’re the big, massive, sweeping transformative trends that are disrupting and changing every single industry. These trends have been around for a long time, but are suddenly real. If a CEO isn’t paying attention and isn’t thinking about them from a strategic perspective, they have, to be polite, a bit of a problem
As you watch it, you might get a sense that I’m specifically playing to the CEO or senior executive crowd; this is not a video aimed at the average person. You might get a sense that my core focus is corporate offsite meetings and events, not the traditional conference circuit. And that it’s all about aligning AI to business strategy.
This leads to the alternate inspiration that I had on the shelf for today. A small group of people on one of my social networks let me know they prefer the ‘play to your strengths‘ story, while only a few like this one.
Both quotes tell the same message. Share your story. Don’t hold back. Don’t be shy. And as you do so, play to your strengths.
In a crowded market, you have to work hard to make sure people understand what you bring to the table, what you are offering, and what your ‘value proposition is.’ In my case, it’s the CEO market; the fact that CEOs and CxOs (that’s the CFO, CPO, CIO, CMO, or other C-something-O) who has engaged me, often at the last minute, to come into a corp[orate meeting or event -who have engaged me to come in and deliver what I call “short, sharp shocks of strategic insight.” (with a nod to Pink Floyd!)
I tell the story in this post, based on a blog I wrote for one of my speaker bureau partners years ago – “Short, Sharp Shocks of Strategic Insight: Why CEOs Are Accelerating their Offsite Leadership Meetings.”
As I comment:
The article covered one of the key trends that I’ve seen in over 30 years in the speaking industry – and that is both an increase in the of CEO or CxO-related meetings and events pulled together in order to address some sudden new strategic purpose and a general collapse in the time leading up to such events. 30 years ago, I was often booked a year or more in advance; these days, it is not unusual to be booked for some sort of corporate offsite leadership meeting just a few months or even weeks in advance.
Why? It goes to the heart of one of my business mantras – “the future belongs to those who are fast!” Organizations are finding BIG issues that impact them faster and need to pull their team together faster to upgrade their knowledge about the issue – and come up with a strategy around the issue.
And they need someone to put these issues into perspective: to outline the trends, identify the future scenarios that are unfolding, and to take them into tomorrow.
That’s my strength; that’s my superpower, that’s my focus. And that’s the storyline I worked into the video above. I need to play to my strengths, and in doing so, in sharing my story, I decided I shouldn’t be shy; I shouldn’t hold back. I’ve got an incredible track record with these types of events – I figure I have had hundreds of CEOs and CxOs bring me into such events to set the tone in such events. It’s one o the main pages on my website: https://ceo.jimcarroll.com
I’m not shy in saying that I am really good at these types of events. I’m not shy to state that I excel at them. I’m not shy in stating that with the level of research and customization I undertake, there are few others like me in the rarified world of keynote speaking in which I operate. And many of my speaker bureau partners know that too – I have a global reputation in this regard. A highly customized, very niche topic? “Call Jim,” they say.
And the storyline in the video seems to me to be somewhat passively aggressive. I think it works. In the 12 hours that it has been out there, others have told me so.
I try to do this personally too. I am aggressively focused on my goals; determined to succeed at them; am relentless in my efforts. I never let my guard down, never waiver in my steadfastness, and never let my doubts or pessimism get in the way.
Play to your strengths.