“No matter what business you’re in, to thrive you must fight the presumption that you know your customer.”
As soon as you claim to “know your ideal customer” you’ve lost. You no longer try to impress, you develop a standard operating procedure, you try and stream line your operation at the detriment of your customer. Always, always, ALWAYS ask for feedback and never shut down a customer from speaking their mind, even if you disagree. The fact that you are willing to open yourself up to feedback it a step ahead of everyone else.
“Create a culture of speed and recognize that your key advantage is the ability to understand your customer adapt and fashion fast solutions.”
In the book he talk about how Zara can take a item of clothing from runway to store in roughly two weeks. This is much faster than the traditional fashion designers who would take on average of a year to get a piece of clothing from the runway to the store shelf. Zara also collects feedback from power shoppers in an attempt to make things better. Imagine that, you could be telling a brand how to make a jacket, shirt or hat fit better over time because they know precisely what their customer wants.
Acquiring feedback is an absolute necessary in any line of work these days.
“Intentionally destroying your business model, products, and services can feel uncomfortable and even painful, but destruction enables unrestricted creativity while providing newfound flexibility and depth.”
This is very similar to the Steve Jobs attitude of making your own products obsolete before your competitors do. Intentionally throwing away what works to be able to expand on what you are doing is smart business, but counterintuitive. Most business folks would think that the tried and true model is better, why change what isn’t broken, right? Without experimentation there is no learning, with no learning there is no growth, with no growth you won’t have a business.
The innovative juggernaut 3M a long time ago for established their now famous 30% rule. 30% of their revenue annually must come from products developed in the past 4 years. How amazing is that? Every employee at 3M knows that they may have the next idea that the company takes to market. The force innovation by creating the 30% rule.
ABT! Always we testing.
“As strange as it may sound, one of the hard-to-fathom lessons from these traps is that “being good” at something may eventually keep you from reaching your full potential.”
The curse of the expert, the “god” complex, the know-it-all. This is what happens when you get good at something. You start believing your own headlines, you start treating people different. You stop learning, and you start “being the expert”. This is when people usually get really annoying, correcting you in public, trying to flex their “smart” muscle. That’s the traditional way of making you feel better, in a position of power, flexing your authority over someone else. But that’s not true power, it’s made up. Power based on position, rank, or intelligence doesn’t last, no one looks up to someone who relies on their “credentials” to make it. People who want you to call them “Doctor” when they aren’t a medical doctor. Putting all those meaningless letters behind your name on your business card, that’s not true power, that’s an attempt at increasing ones’ ego.
Get a mentor. When you get good at something always have a mentor, someone you look up to, someone you study under. As long as you’re studying under someone you can always keep your ego in check. You always have something to shoot for.
“Adversity can be liberating, because it frees us from the obligation of out set path, awakening out inner hunter.”
The true test of a company isn’t during the good times, it’s during the bad. A crisis will bring out the best in people (or the worst). When a crisis happens your brain goes into hyperdrive. You must think of solutions you’ve never thought of before, tackle problems you’ve never faced before, and all the while communicating with your team. Use a crisis as a moment to bring everyone closer, the come up with something innovative, to help solidify your team as a close knit family.
“Sometimes you have to unlearn what you think is great. Then you can open yourself up to what your customer is really thinking.”
Assuming you are wrong and that your customer is right, is going to teach you a lot about your business. However, this is not how most of us go about business. We assume because we’ve had ___ amount of years of experience that “we know best”! That couldn’t be further from the truth! Sure experience helps but if you truly want to be on the forefront of your industry, assume you don’t get it and that you are still learning.
“So-called establishment institutions often teach us that little value comes from the fringe, but outlaw culture and avant-garde culture often inspire great ideas.”
Being different used to be bad. You used to be an outcast, a weirdo, a stranger on the outside. Now you can almost go as far to say that “normal” is the new weird and the “different” is what the world is craving.
With the amount of options of everything we buy now, to standout you must be on the fringes of your industry. As we progress, more and more avant-garde, niche culture will evolve and grow.
Embrace the weird.