Another Kind of Relativity

I’m talking here in terms of “everything’s relative” and individual circumstances, not something as absolute as Einstein’s theory. In fact, I am advocating against most absolutes:

  • Recipes for success
  • Quick fixes
  • X number of things to do when…
  • Benchmarking against rigid percentage increases (sales, profits, volume) or decreases (costs, waste, weight)
  • Stepwise programs
  • Best practices

This does not mean that I believe these aren’t viable. They can be. But only if they address the actual problem we have identified. First, let’s look at the mindset that leads us to these sure-fire winners.

We are attracted to them because someone has proven they work. “Look at these results!” We believe that if we do the same thing, we’ll get the same outcomes.

Not necessarily.

You are not them. You may be similar, but you’re not the same. Instead of attempting to mimic the action, look instead to learn from how they worked through the issues:

  • How did they recognize the problem?
  • How did they analyze and think about it?
  • What was their ultimate goal?
  • How were they going to know if they were successful?

Also, don’t be afraid to examine what made them successful:

  • If something they did was considered a best practice, what made it so?
  • Were they successful in spite of the things they did?
  • Was it a case of being in the right place at the right time or hard work, solid strategy and perseverance? (Please note: this is not an attempt to give you an excuse if you are not successful. If this was the case, then attempting to do exactly what they did at a different time and place likely will not lead to the same results.)

The point is to learn from others. Those in different industries. Or who seem to come out on top no matter what. Or who develops breakthrough strategies that put them on solid footing.

Your brand and your organization are unique. Treat them that way. Develop a solution and plan that works for you and still delivers on your brand promise.

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