Along the lines of inspiration coming from anywhere, a post can come from a beer tasting and a movie. Kinda freeform ideas, FWIW:
1. Innovation. Went to the Red Brick Brewing for a beer tasting was a special night – the Employee brew off.
- This was open to all employees, not just the ‘beer’ guys, because this company is all about the love of beer, not just profit. Loves me some smart HR.
- The marketing manager explained that THIS was their focus, this is how they learn from their customers what to offer and sell, by giving folks an open invitation to come and try.
2. Competition. The night being young and all, I went to see the movie RUSH, based on a rivalry of two Formula One drivers.
- While I’m not a huge racing fan it goes to show what sports can do – tell a compelling story. (And not for nothing, the players in this had some smart, entertaining media savvy.)
- More importantly, it shows the power and NEED for healthy competition. Just like the rivalries we follow in sports, so too are they important in business. Easiest example of that now – the Tech Wars. Apple and Google, Apple and Samsung, Apple and Microsoft – yes, I overdose on the Apple, but it’s hard to miss my point: all these VS. of the tech giants against each other, they all DRIVE each other to do better, offer more, try harder. And we as the consumer tend to win.
3. Differentiation. Back to the brewery for this one.
- It’s not meaningless attempt to revolutionize a product or market sector. Cars have four wheels and probably will for some time hence; the beer was still a malt beverage, served in a glass. Evolutionary improvements can drive markets.
- There’s always a catch; last night’s: a lot of good beers didn’t win the competition. What really wowed the tasters? The ones that tried different things. The nights winner, Fiery Gizzard, – you gotta look at all the names, some great creativity there – was a love-or-hate it concoction where spicy met citrus.
You create and discover, learn and study and explore. It’s keeping your eyes on the prize, the leaders of the pack and the up-and-comers, helping you put together that dream team that can in fact build a better mouse trap or craft and market a crazy-but-it-works beer. Talking, listening and really hearing what others employees, investors, customers need and want and are willing to buy – that’s the brass ring territory right there.
These traits hardwired are into the strongest corporate cultures. Look past the win today or the sale tomorrow, look to the future you want and the plan it will take to get you there.