I’m preparing to deliver a program next week, and the CEO of the company I’m speaking to, identified several topics he wanted me to discuss, placing particular emphasis on one issue. He said, “Rob, we can’t rest on our laurels. We have been very successful, and I don’t want our employees to think we are invulnerable. Can you make sure they understand we have to fight every day to maintain our success?”
A contrarian is a person who takes an opposing view, especially one who rejects the majority opinion. A contrarian can also serve as a very useful tool when it comes to making decisions. At every management meeting, I would suggest you assign at least one person to be The Contrarian; even if they agree with your idea, make them try to shoot holes in it, find fault, or consider alternatives.
Rubbermaid “thought” they needed more products to be the leader in their industry. So, they set out to invent a new product every day for several years, while also entering a new product category every 12-18 months. Fortune magazine wrote that Rubbermaid was more innovative than 3M, Intel and Apple; now that is impressive.
A Comfort Zone is a beautiful place, but nothing grows there. Feeling comfortable, content, and secure can be the first stage of failure. Generals lose wars because their enemy has studied their past battles and understands their combat tactics. The same is true in sports; coaches lose ballgames because their opponent has studied their tendencies. Companies go bankrupt because they didn’t change and stay current with consumer demands.