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What Better Time To Be Contrarian?

30 Nov 10
Michelle Cubas
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Call it what you will. It cycles around every decade. AKA innovative, creative, progressive—it means you are different. Isn’t that the intention of marketing and earning top-of-mind share?

In my business coaching practice, I am ever amazed at what little people understand about the art of running a business. My favorites, the “Widget Makers,” are darned good at what they know. BUT, they are limited by that same trait. They can borrow on a bit of the vision they pour into their wares.

Being contrarian can make people feel uncomfortable because they are heading into new terrain. Isn’t that what innovation really is? Fear of failure is the biggest obstacle people face for a variety of reasons:
1. Don’t want to own the idea. (Consider classical comedic set-up when someone is about to be scolded and it turns into a promotion!)
2. Affects budget allocation next time ’round.
3. Appears not to know what was doing.
4. All of the above and more . . .

If other similar businesses have already blazed a trail, why would someone want to tread the same path? Safety in the “me-too” mindset. Then, the so-called leader can claim they weren’t responsible. It’s a convoluted way of working. Consider the inertia of U.S. Congress.

Own the idea
Put your name all over it. Seth Godin agrees with me on this. Once you own it, your more likely to attract champions to the idea. If it is so appealing, others will want to ‘steal’ it and make it their own. Good; let them. After all, innovation isn’t about our name in lights; it’s about falling forward. They will improve it so it looks like their idea!

Tom Edison Had It Right
When asked how he continued to experiment with the light bulb after so many disappointments, Edison (I paraphrase) replied, “I found 999 ways that didn’t work.”

The Secret Sauce
To put yourself into an innovative place, you only need one ingredient—curiosity. It is so powerful because it keeps you objective. Curiosity engages you and your audience.

Your Assignment
1. Write down how many ways you offer curiosity as a “pull” toward your company offerings.
2. Consider your web and ad copy, presentations and personal interactions.
3. Think crayons, paste and paper. Remember how much fun that was in art class?

4. Ask about my Legos and Leadership™ Program for up tight, Type A people ;-).
5. Paint something with your fingers. What does it “say” to you?

This can be the beginning of an exhilarating experience and can spice up your relationships, too. Let me know how it goes.
Your Coach, MC
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