twitter. facebook. youtube. wikipedia.
all of those sites and organizations have something in common: they’re all in the top 10 in website traffic in terms of monthly visitors. they also have something else in common: none of them started out as an idea to make money.
there was no business plan behind twitter on how the founders were going to turn a profit through selling ads or a subscription. they were a group of college friends who just wanted a way to share what they were doing with each other. zuckerberg was drunk in his dorm room one night when he launched facebook. and jimmy wales had an idea for a better encyclopedia anyone could access for free which had more current information than the heavily curated bookshelf versions.
so why do you insist that your business only go after the ideas that have a high ROI you can measure today? instead, shape the markets of tomorrow.
if not you, someone else will.
as people and organizations, we all have limits to what we can do and things we merely prefer not to do. it’s our safe zone. it’s comfortable and we know it and it’s never surprising. we can anticipate what we’ll find and how we can expect to deal with it.
but growth happens in the spaces outside of our limits. when we choose to do and be what we’ve refused before, we become better versions of ourselves. more experienced and wiser about our surroundings. by pushing into these spaces we begin to find where our limits truly lie.
it’s foreign and unnatural to us. it brings with it an inherent risk. but you’ll find that the uncomfortable spaces are where the important work gets done. the question then looks more like this: do you want to keep living the same life, or do you want to become something greater?
let’s do some important work together.
“fitting in is a short-term strategy that gets you nowhere; standing out is a long-term strategy that takes guts and produces results.” — seth godin
there will be opposition. there always is when you want to change something. but if you have the courage to be bold and the guts to stand up to criticism, you’ll find that you can make an impact. although it may not be the change you’re looking for, change will come.
even if it’s a change inside yourself. a newer and better you.
there is an amazing amount of information coming out of the field of positive psychology surrounding the reasons why people do what they do. dan pink has one of the most popular TED talks and one of the canonical texts on the topic of motivation. the surprising truth is that rewards and monetary benefits actually have little to do with increasing performance. in fact, the opposite is true: rewards and benefits actually hinder performance.
to have a happy, healthy, and motivated workforce the members of your organization need to feel accomplished. that they are doing work that matters, doing work they enjoy (in a manner in which they want to do it), and reaching their full potential.
yet it seems that every part of management is designed to squash that intrinsic motivation. by the very nature of the management hierarchy, we are told that we are just the worker. we are told that we do not get to make the decisions, and therefore do not get to affect change. our role is to trust in management’s ability to lead the organization where it needs to go. impact? change? that’s not for us.
as we see from dan pink’s work and the work of so many others, this approach worked well for a different time and place. the problem, however, is that our world—and our economy—has moved well beyond that point. forget the post-industrial age, we’re living in a post-information age; we’re living in the idea age where creativity and art is king.
it’s time to modernize our approach to business and any organization that doesn’t risks losing out on the future. markets rise and fall, and organizations can navigate those waters fairly well. but once the future is lost? there is no recovering from that.
image by NHLFlyers, official twitter handle of the philadelphia flyers
when your favorite sports team finds issues to work on, they spend more time on it in practice.
powerplay numbers down? you can bet that your favorite hockey team is going to spend more time in the umbrella during practice.
not winning the battles along the boards? eat your wheatiesÂ and have yourself a powerbar before you hit the ice, because we’re doing nothing but 2-on-2′s for a solid 15 minutes down in the corners.
sloppy line changes in the second period? get ready to play a lot of dump and chase and listen for your line to be called.
i think we’ve got the individual training down pretty well in industry. we have one day training events to introduce people to new concepts. we have 2 and 3 day seminars to teach solid fundamentals of what makes a good consultant. we have week long “boot camps” for certification training and exams. but what about the rest of your team?