How to Win in the Age of Now

Tuesday, 30 July 2013 - Wellington, New Zealand

Winning Age of Now

Presentation Summary

Spanning creativity, leadership and execution, Kevin Roberts’ presentation to the Entrepreneurs’ Organization Wellington Chapter is an inspirational primer in: Wanting to Win, Ways to Win Now and Ways to Keep Winning – the secrets of Peak Performance so that winning becomes a habit.

“Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is” – Vince Lombardi

As entrepreneurs, you’re hardwired with desire to win.  

You leap with no safety net – so you understand that the alternatives to winning bring chaos and pain, a recessionary truth that has ground down countries, cities and families.

Tonight I have a few ideas on how to win – how to raise the tide that lifts all boats in a VUCA world: 
Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous

The entrepreneur is a superhero, nothing less, with the power to create ‘superVUCA’, a better world for all. ‘superVUCA?’ – I’m in advertising! Super Bowl, supersize supermodel, supernova!!! 

  • Vibrant – Life is loaded with hope, fun and possibility.
  • Unreal – New ideas trump old wealth, scale and knowledge.
  • Crazy – The crazies win through. Are you edgy – or crazy!!?
  • Astounding – Where the impossible becomes the expected.

Malcolm Gladwell: 5% of the population can change the whole. They are the radical optimists, the entrepreneurs. 

5 IDEAS to help you deliver a superVUCA world, and make Wellington its center:  


The context for winning in business has shifted from production to people. 

People are digitally indulged and escaping VUCA into the moment where they feel best. 

It’s a time of instant expectation, instant availability, instant feedback and instant success or failure.  

Winning is about velocity, not strategy. Management is dead. 

Have an inspired purpose, a dream, feel the pulse of the people – and then go forward in 100 day steps. Think Google’s iterative approach, as with its self-driving cars. 

A win today is a dream on a deadline. Martin Luther King did not say: “I have a Mission Statement.”

New is dead here. Now is alive. It’s the Age of Now.

The total focus must be on action. Stay in permanent beta mode, constantly adjust, and rip the moment. The key shifts:









Return on Investment

Return on Involvement

Pumping Markets

Creating Movements

“Winning is not a sometimes thing; it’s an all the time thing” – Vince Lombardi

In the Now, execution is the killer app:  

An entrepreneur is the difference between getting things done and making things happen.

  • Fail Fast, Learn Fast, Fix Fast.
  • Get your retaliation in first.
  • Drive the important not the urgent.
  • Blue Ocean: Eliminate – Reduce – Raise – Create. Eliminate is key.
  • Reduce a promise to OWE (One Word Equity).


Shimon Peres: “You may have the strongest army—but it cannot conquer ideas.”

In a superVUCA world, the crazies reign. Creativity has unreasonable power. Creative leadership is the difference.

Revolution starts with language:

  • CEO as “Chief Excitement Officer”;
  • CIO as “Chief Ideas Officer”
  • CMO as “Chief Magic Officer.”

How to be a Creative Leader:

i. Pour in Emotion

Emotion has always trumped reason, and it rules the world of the moment, because it’s fast.

The currency of the Now is emotion.

  • Emotion is how a revelation sparks. The Enspiral zone!
  • Emotion is how a customer decides.
  • Emotion is how a fan shares.
  • Emotion is how an idea scales – because it changes the world of the audience. This is innovation, and the role of business is to make the world a better place for everyone.

Work back from how people feel, and it radically alters what you make, how you package it, sell it, brand it and distribute it.

  • Emotion is how a story travels – as an unfolding narrative that connects across multi-channel living where and when it matters, building/integrating purchase momentum.

‘Big Data’ is an enabler; ‘Big Emotion’ is the transformer, giving you cut through. It’s Smart AND Heart. 

The winning shift is not rational. Reason leads to conclusions. Conclusions are for when you got tired of thinking.

Poet Lauris Edmund called Wellington “the city of action, the world headquarters of the verb.” Emotion leads to action.

ii. Generate lots of small ideas, continuously.

iii. Be a Disruptor

Evolution takes centuries. Revolution takes 30 years.

The Now demands constant disruption.

It’s about:

  • Reframing constantly
  • Steve Jobs, presence into absence.
  • Surprising with the obvious.
    • S&S with Toyota Tundra towed the Space Shuttle Endeavour through the LA streets en route to its new home at the Science Museum.
    • In Europe, S&S invited homeless people to read the weather on TV in cold times, raising awareness and money for the homeless.
    • NASA space pen, Russians used a pencil.

iv. Flow

In Flow, dream-driven activities work to energize productivity and creativity.

FLOW combines passion and harmony, enabled by wellbeing, happiness through fulfilling potential (signature strengths, reframing, personal purpose).

How to be a Creative Leader:

Ask three questions of any idea

  • Will people want to see it again?
  • Will people want to share it?
  • Will people want to recreate it?


“I firmly believe that any many’s finest hour – his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear – is that moment when he has to work his heart out in a good cause and he’s exhausted on the field of battle – victorious” – Vince Lombardi

Continuously challenge yourself and coach others to achieve the Dream.

To inspire people today you must:

  • Responsibility
  • Learning
  • Recognition
  • Joy


When everything is a brand, be bigger than a brand.

  • Brands are owned by companies, marketers, and stockholders. Lovemarks are owned by the people who love them.
  • Brands are built on Respect. Lovemarks are created out of Respect and Love.
  • Brands build Loyalty for a Reason. Lovemarks inspire Loyalty Beyond Reason.
  • Brands deliver performance, respect and trust. Lovemarks infuse Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy, the stuff that matters.
  • Brands aim to be Irreplaceable. Lovemarks are Irresistible.

5. To Win, START WITH 3Es

  • Edge: Change happens at the margins, the fringes, the crazy edges. The further you are from orthodoxy and conformity at the center, the more you can make things happen. This is where Kiwis rock. This is Wellington to the core. Your job: be the world’s edge.
  • Enthusiasm: from the Greek “enthusiasmos” (literally, having the god within you.) Vince Lombardi: “If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.”
  • Energy: Entrepreneur means ‘irresistible force of nature’, raw human energy; and you are the magic makers. Wellington needs you; NZ needs you; the world needs you. So power it up.

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