Are YOU Using (Creative), Outside the Box Thinking? You Should!
Are YOU using (creative) outside the box thinking ? If not, you should be! In today’s economy, creative thinking outside-the-box can make the difference between success and failure! Historically we used “average” as a guide to determine marketing targets. Today, ”average” no longer exits in our fractionally segmented marketplace. Given that “average” is no longer viable, then, there’s also no such thing as “one-size fits all.” This is a tough concept for most Baby Boomers and Gen X’rs to swallow, because that was the way things were for most of our lifetimes.
While doing research for the book I was writing, I interviewed more than one hundred managers and staff from ”thriving” B2B, B2C and not-for-profit organizations. In every case there were examples of ”outside-the-box thinking,” as a credit to their success. I documented 160 examples of what they did and how they did it in my recently published book Getting the Fish to Swim to YOU & Keeping Them in YOUR Boat…
What I learned from this process was that most of us are still reeling from the staggering amount of change we’ve experienced during the past ten years. Additionally, with a 500% increase in the number of consumer products, since 1994, we’re drowning in choice. On top of that, the explosion of technology and use of social media have caused our lives to become more complex than ever before. All of this makes the level of competition for a single prospect’s attention, mind boggling. The only chance sellers have to be noticed in today’s market, is to stand out. Preferably in positive ways. T. Boone Pickens, the oil magnet and author said, “try something, try anything, what’s the worst that could happen?”
To be clear, I’m not talking simply of businesses selling products or services. I’m talking about all forms of communicating and marketing. That of yourself, your business even organizations you may belong to. Businesses have to focus on creating, distributing and servicing products services more efficiently than ever before, while simultaniously attracting new and retaining existing customers. People seeking jobs have to consider new and creative ways to get themselves in front of employers. Organizations of all shapes, sizes and purpose, need to become more open to thinking in a ”strategic” rather than a “linear” manor. The ideal culture for this style of “thinking” is to encourage a culture that is in alignment with vision, mission and values that compliment the purpose of the organization. A culture/environment where everyone owns a piece of the customer. This is also known as “Customer-centric.”
Despite the fact that to some, thinking outside-the-box is an old and dated phrase, it is more meaningful and has more applicaility today, then ever before. It means:
- Nontraditional, unconventional or a different way of looking at a problem or situation
- Getting away from your comfort zone
- Taking risk
- Making yourself, product or service stand out from the rest
It does NOT mean GIVE UP ALL COMMON SENSE! A few of many examples of outside the box thinking include:
- Acceptance by the medical community that most stomach ulcers are caused by an easily curred bacteria rather than 100 years of practiced belief that ulcers were caused by spicy food, acid and stress.
- GE, unconventionally, encouraging the designer’s, manufacturers and marketers of their newest line of refrigerators to collaborate and work together during a new product’s development and manufacturing process. The cost savings of 30% per unit were so great, that manufacturing of these units can be done competitively in this country rather than outside the US.
- When businesses give people control over their time, team technique and tasks, workers are more effective
- Levi’s has introduced a new “water-less” stonewashed jean that, because of a unique new process, saves millions of gallons of water, annually
- Highly competitive professional service like CPA’s, law firms, financial planners and realtors… building community and differentiating themselves in the marketplace
Think about the number of times you’re sitting at a meeting when everyone goes around the room introducing themselves? Then, think about those that you remember. Why did you remember some but not others? Because something about what they said, or the way they said it, was unique and memorable! The same principles apply.
Many report that ”thinking outside-the-box,” can be done more effectively and expeditiously when collaborating with fresh eyes. Fresh eyes can be someone from the outside that brings in a fresh perspective, a coach, a consultant like myself or, even a sophisticated mystery shopping organization.
Many organizations have difficulty with this concept because they lack a culture that encourages a “blame-free environment.” To be successful and thrive today, outside-the-box thinking is critical. It offers the best hope for meeting today’s current and future market trends as well as customer and employee expectations. Rest assured that if you’re not willing to use creative outside the box thinking” your competition will! With fresh eyes and the desire for greatness, results follow!
Alan Adler is an executive coach, speaker & author.
03. February 2011 by Alan
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