Mentoring & Coaching

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The Advice Trap

The Advice Trap

Stay curious longer, uncover the real challenge, and change the way you lead forever
edition:Paperback
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The Greenhouse Approach

The Greenhouse Approach

Cultivating Intrapreneurship in Companies and Organizations
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
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Excerpt

Planting the Seeds of Rebellion

“There’s a rebel lying deep in my soul.” — Clint Eastwood

In order to have true innovation — to really break through and todisrupt and see things in a radically different light — rules must be broken.

My guess is right now you might be inclined to toss this book defiantly across the room in disbelief. “We need to break rules? What kind of crazy advice is that? It will be chaos!”

Remember what we said about rules. It’s basically the same with first principles versus assumptions: we need both, but we need much more of one and much less of the other. What I want to do in this chapter is urge you to rethink the way you and your company do things; I want you to challenge your own assumptions. I want you to be your own rebel; I want you to be your own disruptor.

Of course, if you are like most people, your first response will be resistance. A simple fact is that we tend to be okay with the status quo. And we will accommodate the status quo as long as we can. When we were children at school there was always at least one kid who refused to behave. “You’re making it difficult for all the other children!” warned the teacher. Here’s the thing: for whatever reason, that kid saw the world differently. They also saw their own role in the world differently. They didn’t care about obeying the rules or complying with an agenda. Isn’t that why we call them “rebels”?

Here’s a question that underscores everything that we will be discussing, not only in this chapter but throughout The Greeenhouse Approach: When it comes to breaking rules, who wins and who loses? Another perspective on this question might be thinking about the difference between a rebellion and a mutiny. Here’s a hint: one can be led and directed, the other can’t.

Salt.
It’s a simple commodity known (and readily available) to us all. We sprinkle it on foods to bring out their flavours. Some of us use salt to preserve foods, and many of us try not to eat too much of it.

For most people today, that’s where the salt connection ends.

But salt is symbolic to Indians. It is a symbol of freedom and independence.

Salt was once a highly valued substance. Roman soldiers were sometimes paid in salt rather than gold. (He wasn’t worth his salt.) The word “salary” comes from the Latin word for “salt.”

During the nineteenth century, India was under the British Raj (British Rule), and Indian nationals were severely oppressed. The primary objective of the Raj? To export cheap raw materials from India to England. To do this, the Raj imposed unfair laws on the native Indian population, many of whom were treated cruelly, imprisoned, and died of starvation.

To prevent salt smuggling and to collect customs on tobacco, sugar, and other commodities, the Raj constructed a four-thousand-kilometre wall basically down the centre of the county. Known as the “Inland Customs Line,” the wall was three metres high and four metres thick. It was constructed from materials like thorny bushes, stakes, and prickly plum branches and was designed to be impenetrable.

For the enslaved Indians, this wall was a visible and humiliating symbol of the oppression of the British Raj. It stood for ten years, until 1879, when it was decided it posed too great a barrier to travel and trade; maintenance costs, too, proved exorbitantly high.

The removal of the wall, however, failed to address the core problem of the oppression of India’s enormous population. Indians were prevented from collecting or selling salt, for instance, a staple in the Indian diet. The Salt Act of 1882 required Indians to buy salt only from the British (and, of course, the commodity was heavily taxed, preventing most citizens from being able to afford it). Okay. What does any of this have to do with business and innovation?

Gandhi: The Rebel of Passive Resistance Mahatma Gandhi was a great man. He was the leader of the independence movement that liberated India from British rule. Most astonishingly, he achieved this through nonviolent means, encouraging acts of mass civil disobedience.

One of the most famous examples of these was the Salt March.

In 1930, Mahatma Gandhi made a bold statement that would lead to the liberation of India. His Salt March saw him (and tens of thousands of followers) march 240 kilometres to the ocean. The goal was to simply pick up a handful of salt in defiance of the Salt Act.

Gandhi and sixty thousand others were arrested in this peaceful protest, but Gandhi was a force to be reckoned with. The mass civil disobedience led by Gandhi continued after his imprisonment and it continued until he and the viceroy of India were able to come to an agreement that would see Gandhi travel to London to be given a voice at a conference on the future of India. Gandhi was acknowledged by the British as a force it could neither ignore nor overwhelm. Gandhi’s strategy of peaceful resistance changed history, and he would become an inspiration for other human rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela.

Their struggles are an incredibly powerful lesson in how commitment to first principles, and thinking differently about the power of the status quo can be liberating. An adversary is never so powerful as to be invincible — especially when the adversary is no farther away than our own assumptions or habits. The key is being a creative disruptor. Like Coco Chanel.

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Cracking the Code of Service

Cracking the Code of Service

How to Elevate Your Employees and Customers Through World Class Service
edition:Hardcover
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Stop The Saboteurs

Stop The Saboteurs

Conquer Negative Thoughts that Hurt Your Revenue and Your Brand
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover
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Lead Like a Heretic

Lead Like a Heretic

How to Challenge the Status Quo - and Thrive
edition:eBook
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8 Moments of Power in Coaching

8 Moments of Power in Coaching

How to Design and Deliver High-Performance Feedback to all Employees
edition:Hardcover
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Pilot to Profit

Pilot to Profit

Navigating Modern Entrepreneurship to Build Your Business Using Online Marketing, Social Media, Content Marketing and Sales
edition:Paperback
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Excerpt

When I worked in the corporate world, anytime we had an idea we would run a pilot to test it. We needed a proof-of-concept or a trial to validate if the idea was a good one before we would decide whether to roll it out to the entire company.

 

As a young manager working in clothing retail, I used to run pilots inside of my store before I even knew what they were called. I was what they called a “Fire Fighter,” which is the type of manager sent to underperforming stores to clean up their processes, inspire the team, and turn around sales.

I

n one store where I worked, everyone believed it was a professional market, which meant that we sold suits. However, I had a theory that might not be completely true, and so I conducted a test at the front of the store by merchandising some cool, trend-setting baby tees and sundresses.

 

I put together a cute display that mimicked the style I had seen on the popular TV show “90210,” and the next thing I knew those dresses and baby tees were selling like hot cakes! All of a sudden, the store that was known for selling suits was a trend-setting location. The president of the company called me because she wanted to know what was going on since those two items were NOT selling anywhere else.

 

I had done something I wasn’t supposed to do when I merchandised those dresses at the front of the store. I took an idea and I acted on it. I was driven by results in my store and I had a hunch that this would work. Therefore, I tried it and the next thing I knew, my idea and results had a tremendous impact on the entire company.

 

You have ideas, too. You may have an idea for a brand-new type of business and ideas to make your business grow. When you are entrepreneurial, you have ideas all the time.

 

The challenge, however, is turning those ideas into concepts that work.

 

That’s what this book is about. It’s my blueprint on what you need today to build a successful and profitable business because you need more than just an idea. I will share each of the concepts I have piloted in my own business, used with other business owners, and watched generate profits repeatedly.

 

When you pilot something in your business, you want to create, test, evaluate, fix, and then test again. It’s a whole lot of trial and error to determine what works and what does not. In this case, I’ve done the testing for you.

 

Now it’s time for you to take your idea and do the same. First, you have to convince yourself that your idea is worth it.

 

The First Sale Is Always To Yourself

 

You have to convince yourself first that the vision you have for your business has legs. You need to sell yourself on your own business ideas if you are ever going to be successful with selling it to others. Selling is really your ability to transfer belief, and the first person you need to convince is you.

 

Believe that you are capable of building this business and in selling your idea to others. Believe that your product or service is of value and is worth buying. You’re going to have to be able to sell this belief to YOU first; otherwise, you won’t be successful selling to others.

 

Martha Stewart started out making pies in her kitchen and selling them at the farmers market. She was not the Martha Stewart back then that she is today. She started her business the same way as you and I---as a little idea that she tested, refined, which grew into something much bigger.

 

Her first pilot was selling pies at the market. Look at her now and the profits in her business.

 

Martha Stewart had to go through three phases in her business: 1) Start Up, 2) Growth Mode, and eventually 3) Scaling to get where she is today. I am sure her ideas in the very beginning did not include everything her empire is today, however, it did start with a belief in her own ability.

 

You and your business can get stuck in start-up mode for an exceedingly long time if you do not have belief in both yourself and in your vision.

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