2 Minutes with Afdhel Aziz, Author of ‘Good is the New Cool’

Afdhel Aziz is a Brand Director at Pernod-Ricard and co-author of the Amazon top-selling book, “Good is the New Cool: How to Market Like You Give a Damn.” An expert in promoting corporate culture both internally and externally, we sat down with Afdhel to hear his advice for building authentic corporate cultures and managing teams to success.
Butterfly: In your new book, you talk about why “doing good” is a competitive advantage. Can you explain how “goodness” can be promoted within the culture of a company?
Afdhel Aziz: People want to work for companies which have a higher order purpose than just making money – and people want to buy products from companies which deliver against that purpose by giving value to their lives. So, “goodness” shouldn’t be confused with CSR or cause marketing or something fluffy … it’s much more strategic, and should have an ROI, and should have hard metrics against it. It should be something that helps companies attract the best talent who want to to do the most meaningful work – and translate into that products, services and experiences that the company can use to generate profit AND deliver value to people in their lives.
Butterfly: What’s the No. 1 mistake new managers make & how can it be avoided?
Afdhel: I think it’s trying to manage people like they want to be managed: you need to tailor your approach to every single person individually and think about what is meaningful to them. Don’t impose your own ideas on them based on how you like to be managed; instead, figure out what gets that person out of bed every morning and try and cater that as much as possible. It could be spending more time with their family, or flexible hours, or big audacious goals – or some combination of all of the above. Whatever it is, think about how you can create something bespoke for each individual.
Butterfly: Why do you think communication between managers and teams is so challenging? What’s your recommendation for improving employee engagement as a manager?
Aziz: I think the pace of technology and the speed of life has meant we are all living in a hyper-fragmented world, where it is difficult to stop reacting to the outside world. I think the best thing managers can do is think about the 20% of work that delivers 80% of value and continuously ensure their teams are focused on that, and ruthlessly eliminate busywork and inefficient processes.
Butterfly: What’s the best management and/or leadership advice you’ve ever heard?
Aziz: “The best teacher is always a student.” I’m not sure who said it, but I’ve been thinking about this a lot. The best leaders are the ones who never stop learning how to be better: more knowledgeable, more up to date, more empathic to the needs of their team.