Liongate with its 27 person-marketing department has the hefty Hollywood studios aspiring to copy its model.  Its “scrappy, thrifty, and forward thinking” culture is the formula for success as evidence by its campaigns for The Hunger Games.   It is also a formula for success in sales today.

Tim Palen, chief marketing officer, credits the success of the company to the culture set by Jon Feltheimer, Liongate’s president.  He has empowered his chief marketing officer to make “snap decisions.” The extent to which Tim Palen exercises this power has earned him the nickname “The Cobra”.  And as you likely know cobras strike with ferocity and bring down opponents one hundred times their size.

Liongate pretty much bypasses research and sheets of data.  It moves fast and flexibly to seize opportunities and leverage resources such as YouTube.  At Lionsgate  “Bureaucracy is death.”

That sentence alone is cause for pause to think about the role of snap decisions not only in marketing but also in sales.  The digital world is fast.    While we need process, standards, and policy, we also need autonomy. As we must find a way to be flexible, to seize the moment, to strike when the iron is hot or be left behind.

I worked with a client recently who rejected a free and simple marketing opportunity that would complement and strengthen his prospecting plan. He lacked the flexibility to make a small shift because it wasn’t part of the original plan!  It was a combination of a lack of agility and maybe the  “NIH syndrome”—where an invention must come from inside the company or it gets rejected that cost the company an opportunity to increase visibility and support its efforts.

The challenge for 2015 is to find a way to be “scrappy, thrifty, and forward thinking” and remain professional and as a colleague at Lionsgate says, “still have the trains come in on time.”  This is far from easy but it is a formula for success in this fast and digital world.

Tim Palen points to a lack of corporate layers and an overall culture of risk-taking for the amazing success of Lionsgate.  In looking at Lionsgate it is clear it is also a culture of collaboration.

January is a month when many of us make resolutions.  Mine will be to trust more snap judgments and take more risks.  What about you?