Episode 061: In This Brave New World, Be An Original

The rules of work have changed.  No longer is it enough to simply be good at what you do, keep your head down, and be loyal.  Those jobs are disappearing more quickly than the glaciers.  Becoming an Original can help you thrive in this new world.  On this episode we explore how you can use the ideas in Adam Grant’s book to develop your own originality.  (And you don’t have to wear funny glasses.)

(c) AdobeStock Photo

(c) AdobeStock Photo

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On This Episode

Rhythm of Life – A Parking Fiasco Turns Into a Good Lesson
Random Riffs – An Offer You CAN Refuse
Feature Segment – In This Brave, New World, Be an Original

Rhythm of Life – A Parking Fiasco Turns into a Great Lesson

Last week I drove to the airport for yet another business trip.  Because of the huge snowstorm, I couldn’t park in my regular valet parking lot.  Here’s what I learned from my experience parking in the self-park lot instead.

I didn’t see there was another option – directly across the street.  Why?  Because I was so upset, my thinking brain shut down.

Does that ever happen to you?  Don’t do as I did.  Pause.  Take a look around.  Breathe.  And then act.

Random Riffs – An Offer You CAN Refuse

Kraft Heinz made a $143B offer for Unilever, which was summarily rejected as having no strategic or financial merit.  Kraft Heinz makes Heinz Ketchup, Kool-aid, and Grey Poupon.  Oh, and Velveeta.  Meanwhile, Unilever makes Q-tips, Dove and Vaseline.

Why would a food company want a company that sells mostly health and beauty aids?  Turns out there is pressure on packaged food companies to consolidate because of slowed growth stemming from heightened demand for more healthful foods.

Listen to the episode to hear what they might want to do instead of try to buy a company that doesn’t want to be bought.  And how you can get in on the act.

Feature Segment – In This Brave New World, Be An Original

The world of work has completely changed in less than a generation.  We’ve gone from vacation, sick days, a pension, and lifetime employment good workers to contract work with no benefits, outsourcing, and off-shoring.  Yet some are thriving in the midst of this work revolution.  On this episode we explore how that's possible and what you can do to improve your odds of thriving in this brave new world.

Technology disrupted everything.  We've lost the personality and personal connection to what we buy.  The race to reduce costs is a race to the bottom, and in more than just price.

Some want business to be personal again.  To know that someone made something with love and craftsmanship.  Built something to last.  And some businesses are creating art with their business.  Doing business with a heart.

Who are these artists?  Are they a unique breed?  A rare group?  Are they born this way?  Adam Grant explores this topic in his book called Originals.  I call them artists.  He calls them Originals.

How can you be an Original?  Here are some of the key take-aways from Dr. Grant’s book Originals.

Do a lot of work

The artists who did the greatest work were the most prolific.  And their highest quality work was during the periods with the greatest output.

But it's not merely random work.  Daniel Coyle talks about this in his book “The Little Book of Talent“.

  1. Play like a skateboarder.
  2. The key to deep practice is to reach.
  3. Chunk the work.

Experimental innovation

Instead of a rush to be first, iterate and experiment with different ways to do something.  You can learn this type of innovation by constant experimentation.

Use the power of negative thinking

  1. Negative thinking can help you persist when it gets difficult. This negative thinking, as long as accompanied by planning, can significantly reduce the likelihood of failure.
  2. Reframe your thinking.  Turn “I'm anxious” to “I'm excited”.

Mitigate your risks

Liz Gilbert talks about this in her book “Big Magic“.  She held on to her day job until “Eat, Pray, Love” was a huge hit.  You want to be an original?  Reduce the risk by finding ways to offset it.  If you are a creative, do it on the side.  If you want to display artistry at work, show excellence first.  Build technical credibility.  And then let your artistry fly.  Want to usher in a big cultural change?  Get others enlisted first.  And find ways to “drip it in”, rather than trying to change everything at once.

Maybe you don’t think you’re an artist.  Maybe you don’t feel like an Original.  And now you've heard that it isn't so magical.  It isn't that a few people have been sprinkled with creativity fairy-dust.  Nope.  It can be you.  Yes you.

It's easier, and harder, than you think.  It often doesn't happen overnight.  But when you do the work to become a true original, you're much more likely to stand out.  Make a personal connection.  Love what you do.

Don't race to the bottom.  Race to the top.  Be an Original.

What are you doing to be an Original?  Share in the comments.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.