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What Better Time To Be Contrarian?

14 Mar 12
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.

Being contrarian can make people feel uncomfortable because they are heading into new terrain. Isn’t that what innovation really is?

Here are several objections from others you can use to overcome rejection of your ideas:

  1. Fear of failure is the biggest obstacle people face for a variety of reasons. Assure your supporters you want to include them in your “pilot” program and share ideas.
  2. Naysayers can be competitive because they do not own the idea. (Consider a classical comedic set-up when someone is about to be scolded and it turns into a promotion.)
  3. It affects budget allocation next time around and they want their share.
  4. Others’ perception of you, credibility, is critical for support. Do you appear confident, organized, as a leader? What is your image in the organization?
  5. If other similar businesses have already blazed a trail, why would someone want to tread the same path? They may find safety in the “me-too” mindset. Then, the so-called leader can claim they were not responsible.
  6. Use concrete metrics that connect to goals of the organization.
  7. All of the above and more . . .

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 is not about our name in lights; it is 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 SauceTo 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 frontline team 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,

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