A few weeks ago a buddy of mine asked an open ended question: What makes you different? In a market where change is constant and companies range from deadbeats to broke to $30 billion a quarter, how are you positioning yourself and your company for success? Almost everyone has their one word or tagline if you will, as do I, but for a moment I’ll ignore the BS one I use for marketing and share the real one. I don’t happen to be immensely proud of it:
“Persistent ability to fail and try again.”
It doesn’t look good on a shirt. Or a company mission statement. Or as an introduction to a new client. However, looking back and looking forward, every step in the evolution of my company involved my brain crack slamming the wall at 200 mph, looking back at the carnage and finding a way to move it forward.
People are so afraid of failure that they absolutely, totally, positively have to be right. About everything. Ten years in the past, ten years in the future. And in their quest to be so sure and so positive and so firm in what they are doing, they are paralyzed. They never give themselves a chance to do anything and grow beyond where they are. Some are OK with being stuck in the rut and they treasure the life without change or challenge. Eventually, as with almost everything, they fail as well and move on. Look at the carnage in the IT industry over the past few years, look at the hundred year old financial firms that folded last year, look at governments, empires… everyone fails.
The key difference for me is that as the sky is falling down, I am learning all that I did wrong and how we got to the point that we’re at. Then I work to eliminate those mistakes and just try again.
Which brings me to the monkey wrangling circus. How do you train the people around you? Pass on all the great knowledge you’ve amassed and sit there in disappointment as they never live up to your expectations or their own potential? Or throw them in the fire and see if they burn or start coming up with ways not to be in that situation again?
So now that you know a little more about me, I need a favor. This is a room in our new office in downtown Orlando. What you are looking at is a shell of a few hundred square feet that we have absolutely no plans for. After Nicole and I hook up the Garage Band and reenact the scene from Risky Business we are a bit out of ideas. This office already has a room set aside for the video studio and there is even a podcast studio (foam padded broom closet that 2 obese geeks can fit in with a box of chocolate rolls, a 16 piece bucket and a mic).
So, what can we do with this room to help out our community and better serve the people we work with? I’d love your input. One thing is for sure though: the first few things we try we’ll fail at.
Ideas and comments welcome, or email firstname.lastname@example.org