|| "...we all benefited from
your solid approach to 'No Limits... No Boundaries' while
encouraging us to never forget the importance of executing
the fundamentals better than our competition."
| Associated Landscape
It's no longer good enough in American business today to
simply run with the pack. You have to be out front. You can't
just plod along, you have to fly past the competition. You
have to use your natural speed, agility and -- most of all
Reflections On Ingenuity and Its Place in American Business
Recently I was speaking before an audience comprised primarily
of Presidents, CEOs and owners of businesses. I posed the
question: "How many of you believe that Innovation/Ingenuity
is the key to survival and outsmarting the competition." There
was unanimous agreement. I then asked, "How many have an execution
plan in place that serves as a catalyst to guarantee that
ingenuity and innovation are implemented at your company?"
Unfortunately, no one had a plan.
My challenge to all business leaders and entrepreneurs is
to develop a R.O.I. -- Return On Ingenuity -- Plan. (A written
plan. When it's in writing, you have a prayer. When it's not,
you have nothing but air!)
Secrets to Developing Innovative Ideas:
- It Starts With Oneself
- The Challenge Is To Get The Old Ideas Out, Before Trying
To Put New Ideas In
- Ideas Do Not Mean Anything Until They're Heard
- Great Ideas Need Landing Gear, As Well As Wings (Making
it happen is the tough part.)
- The Realization That Every Big Idea Was A Small Idea
Before It Became A Big Idea
- Big Ideas = Big Changes
- Look Under All The Rocks
- Avoid The Myth That If Anything Comes To You Easy It
- Never Fall In Love With An Idea
Turning On The Ingenuity Light
In Silicon Valley, where I live, a practice among the more
successful companies is to give their employees one day off
a month to work at their house, or in their garden, or wherever...and
just think. All communication with the outside world is to
be cut off: phones, faxes, computers, etc. Their job becomes
one of simple tasks, and just thinking creatively. (As many
of us are aware, Einstein's breakthrough ideas often occurred
Another way to encourage creative thinking is to hold employee
meetings in unusual surroundings. San Francisco companies
have rented out art and car museums, taken employees to zoos
and other places, to stimulate and inspire creative thinking.
James J. Schiro, CEO of PricewaterhouseCooper, routinely takes
his executive staff to cooking classes -- assigning them to
appetizers, entrees and desserts. It's a great way to develop
team building and to get a free meal!
Having interviewed over 300 Fortune 500 CEOs, one of the major
traits of leaders with ingenuity is they develop a mindset
of "Daring To Be Different." They realize they either differentiate
themselves, their companies and products...or they disappear.
As we know, in business, most products and services have become
commodities. Everything is beginning to look the same, smell
the same, and taste the same. The solution, as the late musician
Jerry Garcia said: "You have to be considered the only one
who can do what you can do."
How Do You Make The "Daring To Be Different" Happen
- Realize that the impossible is often an opinion, not
a statement of fact.
- Put everything that you're currently doing on trial.
- Adopt the philosophy that there are no corporate sacred
- Challenge conventional wisdom and the status quo.
- Create a mindset that ignores "What is" for "What could
If one goes back and studies American business over the
past 100 years, the one core value which has been the one
constant for all successful companies is ingenuity. It's a
given that the future will belong to those companies which
continue to adopt ingenuity as their competitive advantage.
Barry Wishner is a businessman, entrepreneur
and expert on Business Execution. A confidant to corporate
executives, Barry's keynote presentations
reveal insights into how America's most-admired leaders get
to the top and stay there.