The Dream of Every CEO

by Strategy

When I started my consulting business, I couldn’t really explain how I came up with the business name of MetaHelm, beyond the fact that “Meta” is a prefix that I always found cool and “Helm” is the second half of my first name in German. That’s Wilhelm – also William in English and Guillaume in French. As a founder, I wanted a made-up name that I could own, and there I had it.

There are basically two ways to evaluate a creative piece:

  1. Based on taste: Do you like it? That’s how we value art.
  2. Based on function: Does it do the job that you want it to do? That’s how we value design.

Most people use their taste to evaluate the function of a particular design and that generally creates a mess. But I’ll expand on that comment in a future post.

When I created the name MetaHelm, I clearly went artistic. I just liked that name.

Over time, the need for a viable functional explanation increased. People asked me what MetaHelm stood for.

Then, I started to give it a definition. It felt like I always something about that name inside me. A few days ago, I finally put down the pen to paper and I wrote about the concept of metahelm:

  • Metahelm (meta: higher / helm: steering).
  • The use of storytelling to structure the strategy of your company into a more powerful perspective that tells why your product or service is indispensable now.
  • The metaHelm is the bigger story that reframes the necessary shift that your customers should make in their life and elevates your solution as the ideal answer to do that.

Two days later, one of my CEO clients added even more precision to that definition during one of our calls.

I asked her the following question, a modified version of the Dan Sullivan question: “It is three years from today and you and I are talking. You are really happy. What has happened in those three years to make you so happy?”

This was her dream.

Here is what she answered:

  • I now have a clear narrative to tell what my company does.
  • It is a strategic story (the metahelm) and it is shared by my entire team.
  • In fact, we crafted it together.
  • It features our customer as the hero.
  • It puts our customer at the center of a journey into transformation.
  • In the end, it sets-up our product as the indispensable solution to facilitate that transformation.
  • But the great thing is that we don’t even have to talk much about the features of our product.
  • That’s because, with that story, we make people feel like we heard them.
  • People understand that we are the new default solution for their need.
  • That story also helps us empower people to be more successful: our team and people in our market.
  • We are doing better than our competitors, not because our product is better, but because the purpose of our product is clearer: to help customers go from an old version of themselves to a new one.

Her answer elicits exactly what great strategic storytelling should do for you as a leader, for your team, and for your business.

And this is the dream of every CEO.

 

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