There’s a lot of talk about change these days. No, this isn’t another tired political story. I’m a bit burned out on them too.
Let’s talk about changing your business for the better. Many ideas for business change come from your clients. Another source is from events like TED.
TED is an annual conference that covers all subjects – science, math, technology, business, humanities, healthcare, even newspapers. Big picture-wise, TED is about exposure to ideas and inspiration from the world’s greatest thinkers, but also from the world’s greatest doers.
Some of those kinds of people might work for you right now. How do you feed their creativity?
Google gives their employees a percentage of their work time so that they can work on the next big thing they are pumped up about.
How many new businesses are started by employees who were not allowed to be creative and explore their ideas, somehow, some way?
How much more successful would their employer have been if they let the employee pursue that interest in-house (on or off-hours)? Is it better to have great new inventions (products or services) in your company, or to implicitly force creative employees to bail out in frustration and end up creating their own company?
Obviously, I think the in-house method makes more sense. How easy is it to create a product or service that is so compelling that it’ll provoke your customers to get off the couch, get in the car, and drive across town because they can’t wait to buy it?
Creating the next remarkable product from yesterday’s amazingly insightful idea isn’t simple because creating remarkable products isn’t easy and neither is coming up with amazingly insightful ideas.
Who in your company is frustrated by things like this? While they are doing your company’s work, do they have a new product floating around in their head?
What if they have something in their head that is comparable to the Post-it Note, the LED, the iPod, or the Gutenberg press?
The people who invent stuff like that are the obsessed. They’re kinda like Macintosh users who own an iPod, a Mac, an Apple TV and an iPhone. They’re waiting to see what Apple does next because Apple has sold them on creativity, great design and astounding usability.
There’s one difference between these people and Macintosh users.
Instead of being “in serious like” (and maybe love, for some) with everything Steve Jobs’ company creates, they’re infatuated with something about what your business does or creates.
Isn’t that the kind of customers you want? That kind of staff person knows what those customers want, need and jones for.
If you’re in the software business and had a chance to hire the next Bill Gates, Sergey Brin (Google founder), Pierre Omidyar (eBay), or Randy Pausch, would you?
If you’re in the business of buying and selling businesses, or in finance and had the chance to hire the next Warren Buffett, would you?
Consider the same question about the next Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Lee Iacocca or Donald Trump.
Maybe they already work for you. They might be lurking just below the surface, like a seedling struggling to reach through the soil. They just need a little sun, air and rain.
But how would you know?
Are you encouraging your staff to grow and create things that not only push your business to the next rung on the ladder, but instead push your business five rungs up the ladder?
Are you open to adding a new revenue stream to your business that dwarfs your existing business? That might be what they have in their heads…if you let it catch some rays.
As you watch Sir Ken Robinson speak about schools all over the globe, think about your employees in the same light that Ken talks about children in our education system. Then do something about it. Don’t let the creative ones go out of boredom and frustration.
Ken’s discussion could easily apply to opportunities that you give your staff to learn, to be creative and invent great new things that crank out revenue.
That’s the kind of change small business owners can believe in.
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