Most people have a pretty good idea who their enemies are, and if they are smart, they follow Niccollo Machiavelli’s advice of: “Keep your friends close, your enemies closer.” Today I want to address something we sometimes give very little thought to … our friends. We have a tendency to closely monitor our enemies, watching every move they make, but overlook or take for granted the people who can have the most impact on our lives.
I was asked to produce a keynote for a client on Maintaining Relationships in a Virtual Environment. Now is the time to connect with your customers like never before, not separate from them. Even in this pandemic environment, your business can still flourish if you are willing to try a new approach and not pull back on your marketing.
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.