I like metaphors. They help us communicate about abstract concepts, and the very best metaphors improve our understanding. Ideally, they can even point out what we might be missing.
That’s why I’ve started explaining business as a fishing expedition. Understanding my company this way has helped me visualize how our jobs fit together and why each matters. It’s also helped me understand the strengths of different staff members and how they complement each other.
Here’s how it goes:
A company is like a fishing expedition. It has to coordinate a series of complicated decisions, processes, and actions in order to catch and deliver its fish.
The CEO has a top-level vision, just as the fishing expedition leader needs to define a broader goal. (“We have the equipment and knowledge for a trip to the North Atlantic–that’s where we’re going.”) Strategic marketing refines that goal, setting a direction and a target. This is equivalent to the ship’s captain, directing the boat to a specific region where a certain type of fish can be found.
Now marketing communication jumps in, identifying the correct bait and putting it in place. Then the sales team starts casting, locating groups of fish and trying to entice them. Once the fish take the bait, the sales team works to reel them in.
This is where the analogy gets fun, and just a little gory. The sales team doesn’t bring the fish all the way up on to the boat. To get the fish on the boat and kill it, we need business development to step in with gaffs and nets. In comes project management to gut the fish, before manufacturing (finally) steps in to put the fish into cans, all ready for sale.
Why do I like this metaphor? Because sometimes you might not be able to see where your business is failing, but you can see where in the fishing narrative you’re getting hung up. Wasting bait? Maybe you’ve chosen the wrong place to fish and need to reconsider your strategic direction. Not getting any bites on your lines? Check out your bait or how your sales team is casting. Got rotting fish on your ship’s deck? Maybe you need more assets in project management to take the leads you signed up and actually follow through.
It might be a silly metaphor, but it works for us at Videon. So go out there and catch some fish.