Wednesday Words

To Go Where Your VisionPoints, a few inspiration points for you and your business.

People are very open-minded about new things—as long as they’re exactly like the old ones.
—Charles F. Kettering

Yesterday we talked about not trying to change customers’ minds and habits, but fit into an existing mindset or set of habits. The path to growth is clearer if you can showcase your product or service to dovetail nicely into those existing habits, yet (I hear some of you argue) aren’t some of the most revolutionary successes based on totally transforming habits?

Well, we do seem to have a genetic need to change things up now and then. We like “new” and “improved.” It’s sexy to think of ourselves as daring change-seekers when we’re the consumers, and in business we love the idea of being change agents for our customers.

My thinking on transformative innovation is that at its core, most change isn’t such a shift in habits after all—and as Kettering says, in the end we like our change to look just about same-as-usual. Maybe a little sexier.

Sure, the Kindle is a revolutionary way of taking a book around town, but it’s unlikely to make readers out of folks who haven’t picked up a book since high school. It only changes how existing readers haul their treasured tomes around with them.

Sure, fast food was a revolutionary way to feed the family, but the kids were gonna get fed—and quickly—after Mom and Dad both started coming home from work in the 50s and 60s. McDonald’s and others just tapped into an existing need and changed the delivery system.

The BlackBerry replaced the paper planner. The planner replaced the trusted personal secretary. But the need to organize a complex day has been with us since the days became complex. More people with complex days now, though, so spotting a habit that’s growing could be a great boost to any company.

Your business? How can you shorten your path to success, tapping into familiar, old habits—making them sexy and “new”? Is there a habit that’s being adopted by more customers, that could help you grow even faster?


Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson


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