Darryl Stewart
By Darryl Stewart
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How to take things to the next level

How to take things to the next level

I was in a meeting with a group of successful business owners a while ago. We were discussing our ideas for improving our businesses and talking about incremental changes we could each make. The most successful person in the group was visibly frustrated by the small-thinking approach. She said: “I am always asking myself what is my true value? What is the best use of my strengths? What do I do well and how can I best apply it? Where can I make the greatest difference? I try not to be limited by what I am already doing. I am always looking for new ways to apply the things we do well. That is how I innovate successfully.”

She went on to explain that she is lazy. She does not like to expend energy in a way that does not produce significant results with minimal effort. I am not sure “lazy” is the right term. “Brilliant” might be.

I am struck by how simple and powerful this thinking is. So often we look for ways to do the things we are already doing just a little bit better every day and in the same sandbox in which we have always played. We work so hard to move the bar just a little bit at a time when some bigger thinking and a bit of courage could make a much bigger difference.

How can you apply this thinking?:

  • If you have the desire and the strengths to move your career forward and there is no upward path for you in your current situation, make a change.
  • If you are delivering high-quality products or services in a shrinking or highly competitive market, do something similar using your strengths in a growing and/or under-serviced market.
  • If the audience  you are serving is too small and forcing you to do things you are not good at or do not enjoy doing, expand your reach and cross the border, whatever that border is.

An Albert Einstein quote comes to mind as I think about all this:

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Thinking of new ways to apply what you and your organization are good at is a concrete way to make sure you are not doing the same thing over and over again.