In a world of traditions, norms, mediocrity, and fitting in with the crowd, standing out is the gold standard for career development.
A diamond appears to shine brighter, when placed in front of a black backdrop or background display. Do yourself a favour:
1. Write down a list of the most commonly accepted rules and regulations, both written and unwritten, in your industry.
2. Pick 3 commonly accepted norms, and go against it. Turn 90 degrees and go in the opposite direction.
3. Make a habit of doing this at least twice a year, do it at least every six months.
‘Why fit in when you were born to stand out?’
You need to be comfortable with going against the norm, being considered as weird even. I would rather be weird and effective, than accepted with no results to show for it. Get used to going against traditional ideas, simply because you there are options that could be better performing.
Mcdonalds in Canada have a program they created, with a website, called ‘Our food, Your questions.’ This website allows customers to ask any question concerning the Mcdonalds brand and food.
One of the questions included is: what is inside their secret sauce. Now, we would expect them to avoid this kind of question because that would make their secret sauce not so secret anymore.
They responded with a short 2 minute video from a Mcdonalds chef, teaching people how to make their own Mcdonalds sauce at home. This programme reflects extreme transparency, which is not usually associated with fast food restaurants.
Not only will this unconventional approach boost affinity among customers for the brand. That means a positive perception of the brand, making happy customers, and happy customers, means word of mouth marketing, resulting in more sales.
I am not saying go against the things that work well, just re-think what most people would consider to be ‘working well.’ It may work for some people, but not you.
It might also be something that is widely accepted, but nobody has challenged and tested to see if there are better ways to do it. This is what I call ‘career inertia,’ you can find it in every industry.
It is a disease, and it is contagious, get as far away from it as possible. Stay around people that like to do things a bit different from everybody else in their industry, and still get distinctive results.
Do these things and you will not need to worry about fitting in and fading out.
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