The Secret to Achieving Game-Changing Results
Listen to Episode 66:
Episode 66 Transcript:
This episode is brought to you by Business Advancement Incorporated − enabling successful leaders and companies to accelerate to their next level of success. On the web at www.BusinessAdvance.com. And now, here’s Pam and Scott.
Pam Harper: Thanks, Chris. I’m Pam Harper, Founding Partner and CEO of Business Advancement Incorporated, and with me as always is my business partner and husband, Scott Harper. Hi, Scott.
Scott Harper: Hi, Pam. As always, it’s terrific to be with you again for another episode of Growth Igniters Radio − and if this is your first time listening, our purpose is to inspire new insights, inspiration, and immediately useful ideas for visionary leaders to accelerate themselves and their companies to their next level of growth and success.
Pam, we all know that in this hypercompetitive environment, what’s new and noteworthy to customers today can very quickly become a commodity, and even irrelevant, all too fast.
Pam Harper: Yes. That means that, as visionary leaders, we and our companies need to keep finding opportunities to change the game, and we need to do it fast.
Scott Harper: Well, that’s right, and changing the game is something people talk about a lot. But − it’s sometimes easier said than done.
Pam Harper: The challenge is that there are a lot of myths about what it means to change the game. This complicates and shortchanges the opportunities for too many people. So, over the next half hour, we’re going to share the secret of what the most visionary leaders do to stay first, fast, and foremost on the minds and hearts of customers. As always, we’ll spend the last ten minutes or so focusing on immediately useful ideas that you and your team can use to immediately begin to change the game more quickly for yourselves, and for your company. Let’s get started by talking about the myths.
Scott Harper: Okay, well, there are a number of myths and misconceptions about what it means to change the game, and we could debate about that for a long time. One of the things that we’ve heard a number of times is that game changing is tied to disruptive innovation − breakthrough innovation in products or services. That [selling new, massively different products or services is] really the main way, the only way that a company can be a game changer.
Pam Harper: That’s a myth, of course.
Scott Harper: Yeah, well it is, because there’s lots of ways to change the game. I mean, I like college football − Ohio State, Michigan; I love the Big Ten. Now, you can change a game by just changing a mindset right in the middle; a big play can take it up or down. And in business, models can change; processes can change [as well as products]. Just take, for instance, Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg and the board have just taken a step that is starting to take hold − Alphabet, the Google folks, have also done this − by issuing non-voting Class C stocks.
In doing this, they are addressing the paradox of how can we have investors, and give investors a stake in the financial fortunes of the company and also maintain control so that we can have a long-term focus and lead the company the way we have been leading to create further long-term success. In the case of Facebook, this plan has not yet been approved, so we’ll have to see where that goes. Nonetheless, it still shows an example of game-changing thinking that is not related to releasing a product.
Pam Harper: The implication is, if we are thinking about only breakthrough products and services …
Scott Harper: It limits our vision.
Pam Harper: Exactly; so we need to be thinking more expansively about what, in fact, game-changing kinds of opportunities can look like.
Scott Harper: Well, that’s right.
Pam Harper: That was an excellent example.
Scott Harper: Absolutely. Of course, another myth is that, if we do change the game − even if it’s in products and services − “Change the game; I’m defining the game. I’m in the lead; I’m not going to get disrupted.”
Pam Harper: Okay, now let’s talk about what the implication is here.
Scott Harper: Okay.
Pam Harper: Think about TiVo…
Scott Harper: Yep, we had TiVo, back a number of years ago, when it first came out.
Pam Harper: Remember TiVo was the front-runner.
Scott Harper: In digital video recording…
Pam Harper: They invented this.
Scott Harper: They disrupted, I mean, VCRs. You went from taping on your VCR to- TiVo-ing; it became a verb. Now there’s digital video recording. The problem is, that things changed. You had new technologies coming up. You had new competition. The cable companies put out generics; now you have video streaming…
Pam Harper: TiVo went from being the front-runner − first, fast, and foremost − to being a commodity.
Scott Harper: Now they’ve just been purchased by Rovi, primarily for the value of the patents they hold.
Pam Harper: You have to keep changing the game.
Scott Harper: That’s right.
Pam Harper: You can’t stop. It’s a process; it’s not an event.
Scott Harper: Yeah. Well, that’s true. Another myth that kind of goes hand in hand with this is, “Well, it takes an enormous time, it takes an enormous amount of capital to change the game.”
Pam Harper: Mm-hmm (affirmative); we’ve heard that a lot.
Scott Harper: “It’s very − Oh, it’s really hard.”
Pam Harper: Well, let’s talk about why that would be a problem. What’s the implication there? I can certainly see that, when people have felt that way, they’ve been very reluctant to get into looking at new opportunities and doing what it takes, because they’re looking at it as though it’s a mountain. It’s not. It doesn’t have to be.
Scott Harper: They can’t see the opportunities. A game changer is always cultivating the ability to perceive things differently, often in completely unrelated spaces.
Pam Harper: That can happen in a heartbeat.
Scott Harper: It can. I go back − I think about Archimedes, way back in Ancient Greece. He was struggling with a problem. He got into the bathtub, and the water overflowed − “Eureka!”
Pam Harper: We don’t have to go back to Greek civilization to have that happen.
Scott Harper: Well, that’s right, but he took something completely unrelated to what he was working with, and it sparked an idea in him. That’s what the real game changers, these visionary leaders that we love working with, are able to do, more and more easily and more and more frequently.
Pam Harper: Mm-hmm (affirmative). It’s changing perceptions. It’s not thinking … it’s not over-thinking. It’s really changing perception that makes the difference. I don’t think people talk about that nearly enough. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be all of these myths running around about how difficult it is, because it doesn’t have to be.
So, we’re going to say that changing the game can occur by creating a new industry, and it can also be in the context of making a dramatic change in the trajectory of the current situation for an individual, company, or industry. Regardless of which direction we take, the secret to changing the game is becoming proficient at quickly changing our own perceptions and enabling others to join us on the journey from big idea to big results.
Scott Harper: Absolutely.
Pam Harper: We’re going to take a break right now, and when we come back, Scott and I will dig deeper into how visionary leaders have been able to change their perceptions, and those of other important stakeholders to set up the actions it takes to achieve game-changing results. Stay with us…
Scott Harper: You’re listening to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper and Scott Harper, brought to you by Business Advancement Incorporated, on the web at . On the web at www.BusinessAdvance.com. We enable successful leaders and their companies to accelerate to their next level of growth and success, and if you like what you’re hearing, spread the good word. Go to GrowthIgnitersRadio.com, select episode 66, and use the share links for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter at the top right of the page to tell your social media communities all about us. And while you’re there, sign up for our weekly alert of upcoming episodes so you’ll always be up to date.
Pam Harper: Welcome back to Growth Igniters Radio, with Pam Harper − that’s me − and Scott Harper. Scott and I are talking with each other today about the secret of achieving game-changing results. Now, you can find links and other information on this episode by going to GrowthIgnitersRadio.com, episode 66. Scroll down under “Resources”, and you’ll get those links.
Scott, one of the things we’ve seen from the most game-changing, visionary leaders is that they have what we’ve been referring to as a “gaming-changing mindset.” Let’s discuss what that means.
Scott Harper: Sure; 0kay − game-changing mindset. Well, we all know that to be able to change the game, to do anything differently, especially profoundly differently, the mind needs to be open to opportunities. “Tell me something I don’t know.” The trick is-
Pam Harper: Yes, “tell me something I don’t know…”
Scott Harper: The trick is that to make this happen is… It’s just easier said than done. We get hooked into how we do things because, quite honestly, from an evolutionary standpoint, habit is functional. We can’t always be exploring, going off in every single- every possible direction. We talked about the power of constraints in our last episode.
Pam Harper: And we’ve talked about the power of habits.
Scott Harper: Well, that’s right.
Pam Harper: We’ve spent a lot of time looking at books and studying this, and listening to people who’ve just done a lot of research on habits. What comes back, time and time again, is that habits are possible to change, but you’ve got to want to.
Scott Harper: Yes; and you have to do it in a disciplined way, because that’s how you’re going to reduce the risk of squandering resources and possibilities.
Pam Harper: The habit then that we’re looking at specifically here, is understanding your customer like you’ve never understood them before. I mean that literally, literally.
Scott Harper: Sure, and you have to really get into the heads and the hearts and the minds of your customer and not just talk to them, not just do focus groups, but observe and watch and experience it yourself. You can then start to open up your mind and look for things that are right there in front of you but you’re not necessarily looking at and thinking about.
For example, a case in point, was a number of years ago when you had email and people were going nuts with email, especially people who were out of the office as at meetings or sales calls or whatever. They go back, and they say, “Oh, I gotta go back to my office; I know I’ve got a hundred emails waiting for me.”
Pam Harper: I think you’re going in the direction of BlackBerry, aren’t you?
Scott Harper: Well, I am going in the direction of BlackBerry. You had cellphones, and you had email back in the office. Looking at − here is this conundrum − and now, hooking that up with the changes in telecommunications hardware and software, Research In Motion was founded. BlackBerry was founded. I had a BlackBerry; I had a number of BlackBerrys…
Pam Harper: Sure, but let’s talk about what actually happened there − the observation, the willingness to have an open mind, right?
Scott Harper: Sure, and hooking up disconnected things. “I’ve got email that’s haunting me. I have a cellphone. How can I securely get to my email remotely and in an easy way?” It’s hooking together a number of things that are not naturally connected, and being willing to sort of unhinge your mind and then go, “Oh, wait a second. There’s an opportunity.”
Pam Harper: That’s true. That’s true.
Scott Harper: Of course, the problem with BlackBerry, as with TiVo, is that once they became dominate in the market, the innovator’s dilemma took over and they really became hooked into how we do this. They discounted the next wave.
Pam Harper: There’s a cautionary tale in here, too, which goes back to what we were talking about in the first segment. You have to keep changing the game and expect that whatever you come up with is going to become a commodity, whether it’s a service, like say Uber, or whether it’s a product, like BlackBerry.
Scott Harper: Right. The question is how do we do that?
Pam Harper: Well, one of the things is we need to be able to do is reframe questions. Again, not a natural thing. Our brains are naturally wired to interpret these situations, and then we reflexively respond. Think, for instance, about a classic kind of thing. You’re driving along the highway, and it’s a beautiful day. You’re going down, and you see a police car in the median. Now, what do you do?
Scott Harper: Well, one of two things − either I take my foot off the gas. I might be going fifty-five, but I take my foot off the gas anyhow…
Pam Harper: I look at my speedometer. How fast am I really going? In every case, my mind is trained to say- cue is “see the police car.”
Scott Harper: Stimulus-response…
Pam Harper: Stimulus-response. The most visionary leaders that we’ve seen are good at looking at analogous situations that are outside of the literal situation that they’re in. Let’s take that, again, out of the theoretical and into something real. You had the experience with the tartar-control toothpaste.
Scott Harper: Well, sure. I mean, I used to be in oral care research and development, product development. Back a while ago, a problem was tartar, calculus, on the teeth. It’s painful and time-consuming to remove at the dentist. The people at Procter & Gamble were asking the question, “How can we keep this stuff, this hard deposit, from forming on teeth, without hurting teeth?” They actually turned to a completely different frame of reference, a completely different industry.
In water treatment, the coils, and so on in water treatment plants get caked-up calcium deposits. The folks in the water treatment industry were using pyrophosphate salts to prevent these deposits from forming. Lots of R&D and safety tests and so on later, they found that if you put certain types of pyrophosphate chemicals in toothpaste, you can slow down tartar development, make it softer, make it less.
Pam Harper: Sewage treatment plants and my mouth….
Scott Harper: And your mouth. Well, yeah.
Pam Harper: Interesting.
Scott Harper: The point is that you have − here’s an analogous situation somewhere else.
Pam Harper: Okay, so if you think about that, you were talking about calcifications, right? Well, how about if we take another mental leap, and we’re trying to change the game. We can say, how can we take the calcification of a mouth or a sewage plant and apply that to our organizations?
Scott Harper: Okay. Yeah, so organizations can be calcified, metaphorically at least.
Pam Harper: How can we change the game that way, using that?
Scott Harper: I mean, going to analogy is a classic way of changing perception. You frame the question − how can we keep something from being hardened and stuck in place, without harming the underlying structure?
Pam Harper: What we’re really talking about is using a little bit of the constraints that we were talking about with Whitney Johnson in our previous episode, and framing questions so that we can look at our situations in new ways and come up with new opportunities that we wouldn’t have thought of before. I will say, also, that when you’re looking at competitors and some of the things that are coming out, you can build on that and say, “Okay, that’s there, and how can we take that and apply that to something that we’ve been doing the way we’ve been doing it for years? How can we yet push the game to a different place?”
Scott Harper: Competitors in, directly, our industry − also places outside our industry … Another way to do this − We can think differently, but how can we stimulate these new perceptions? A lot of it is through opening up conversations that aren’t happening, that maybe should be happening.
Pam Harper: That’s right. That’s right. They have to happen. They’re critical. What we’re talking about is you can start… This is like a virtuous cycle. You can start with an idea. You can come up with it all by yourself, but then, you have a conversation. Maybe it’s with somebody in your organization, initially. Maybe it’s by going to a trade show. Maybe it’s working with a mentor or an advisor. The point is you’re talking, and you’re getting these conversations out. Now, you go back again. It prompts you to think differently, and you build. It becomes a cycle, a virtuous cycle of and.
Scott Harper: You can observe and create thought experiments and confirm this, right.
Pam Harper: It works and works to create the beginnings of thinking faster and having that route to new opportunities. In fact, in our resources area, GrowthIgnitersRadio.com, episode sixty-six, you can scroll down and see that model that we’re talking about, the virtuous cycle of opening up opportunities.
Scott Harper: And opening up perception through conversation.
Pam Harper: That’s right. We’re going to take another quick break, and when we come back, we’re going to talk more about immediately actionable ideas that you can use to change the game for yourself, your company, and your industry, just faster. Stay with us.
Scott Harper: You’re listening to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper and Scott Harper, brought to you by Business Advancement Incorporated, on the web at BusinessAdvance.com.
Pam, some of our listeners have told us that they’d like to review our podcast series on iTunes, but they aren’t quite sure how to do it. It’s not entirely straightforward. We really appreciate that feedback, and we want everyone who listens to raise our profile by spreading the word through iTunes reviews so more people can find us.
That’s why I’ve created a short tutorial video which removes the mystery from this process. Go to GrowthIgnitersRadio.com. Look over at the sidebar to the right of the page, where you’ll see a headline, “Subscribe to Growth Igniters Radio.” Click on the blue button under that that says, “How to review Growth Igniters Radio in iTunes,” and this will open up a page where you can play the video. It spells out everything you need to know about the process in just eighty-four seconds. And thanks again for spreading the good word about Growth Igniters Radio.
Pam Harper: Welcome back to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper and Scott Harper. Over the last two segments, Scott and I have been discussing how to get rid of those myths surrounding changing the game, and really open up our minds to more quickly changing our perspectives so we can make these game-changing results happen even faster. Ultimately, everything we’ve been talking about leads to this. To really begin to change the game, we need to bump our thinking out of the habitual frame of reference, right?
Scott Harper: Right.
Pam Harper: And make those new connections that can inspire us. That’s what we’re going to focus on for this last segment. The first one, I’m going to take, which is looking at the paradoxes surrounding the needs of your customers and market. Now, for us, just for example, Growth Igniters Radio came out of the paradox of people telling us that they really wanted to get great ideas. They wanted world-class leaders to talk about their experiences. They wanted to get more ideas, and yet, they didn’t have time. They didn’t have time to go to conferences, no matter how good the conferences were. They wanted things quickly. They’re always on the go.
Scott Harper: Didn’t have time to read.
Pam Harper: Mm-hmm (affirmative). The connection was that technology has improved; the credibility of podcasting has improved. Paradoxes were all around, and also, the world had changed. This is an example of understanding the paradoxes, and also what’s changing, to pull together some new opportunities.
Scott Harper: You’re enlarging your frame, and you’re asking the same question in a new way.
Pam Harper: That’s right, and notice that I said people were telling us in conversations. We never ran a focus group, nothing like that. We spoke with a lot of people. We watched what people were doing. We watched, also, what was happening in the news about how podcasts were being improved and their increasing credibility. That virtuous cycle- that’s in episode 66; scroll under “Resources.” That cycle is really a model for beginning to enlarge the frame of reference.
Scott Harper: Well, that’s right. Another way to change our perceptions and spark these new insights that will get the ball rolling is to look for unrelated things − just as I was talking about for tartar-control toothpaste-.
Pam Harper: Okay, so let’s take this. This is immediately useful ideas. All right, let’s imagine, for those of you out there- Let’s see. Take the first thing you see. Maybe it’s food. Maybe it’s a magazine. Maybe it’s a towel.
Scott Harper: Wow.
Pam Harper: Maybe it’s a traffic light. Okay? Draw a connection to your industry. Maybe it’s telecomm. Maybe it’s marketing services. Maybe it’s consumer products.
Scott Harper: Whatever it is.
Pam Harper: Whatever it is.
Scott Harper: Something ridiculous- I mean, what does a towel have in common that can help me think about marketing services differently? Well, we have to soak up new ideas and then bring them out. Get them out there. That just-
Pam Harper: We want to do that for our customers and our market, and maybe there’s a new market out there that has to do with soaking up ideas. We don’t know. The point is that when you’re taking things and you say, at first, “Oh, it’s irrelevant.” What we’re really talking about here, people, is looking at the things that are irrelevant, seemingly irrelevant, because they’re not immediately actionable, you would think. They can be.
Scott Harper: There’s frequently a trigger in something. Take Isaac Newton and the falling apple, for crying out loud. There’s a trigger in stuff that doesn’t relate to what you’re doing that can really change your thought, if you open up your mind to it.
Pam Harper: If you allow yourself to. One of the things we’re going to be doing in Growth Igniters Radio is we’re going to be looking at some ideas that are pretty high-flying now.
Scott Harper: A bit out there, yeah.
Pam Harper: Well, they’re not necessarily going to be the thing that you do tomorrow, but maybe they could be. Those are the trends that we’ve been talking about. The more that we get used to thinking about, not just what we can do tomorrow, per se, but what else is out there, and how could I apply that − no matter how different it is from what I would normally be looking at for trends? What’s the next big idea?
Scott Harper: Well, that’s right. Another way that, really, you can use to facilitate this different thinking is don’t stick in your head. Go out there and have conversations.
Pam Harper: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well, improvisation. For instance, in an earlier episode, we had a conversation with Kelly Leonard, author of the book “Yes, And”, who’s a creative director at Second City.
Scott Harper: Improvisational theater, right.
Pam Harper: That’s right. The whole idea behind improvisation is to not necessarily know what’s coming next. The excitement and the opportunities come from building on each other’s conversations by always keeping an open space and saying, “And.”
Scott, I’ve just told you that we need to keep building on conversation.
Scott Harper: … What we can do to do this is find new people to have conversations with and open ourselves up to talking to people that we might never talk to.
Pam Harper: We can find ways to do that by going out there and looking at whatever the trade journals are. We can find ideas from you letting us know. As you’re listening to us, maybe you have an idea. This is just a quick example of how you can build opportunities. It doesn’t have to be a big, long, drawn-out kind of thing to get it going. Obviously, there’s much more to it to bring it out there into reality.
Scott Harper: To refine and flesh it out and so on.
Pam Harper: It starts with the willingness to change your perceptions, to open your perceptions.
Scott Harper: To really have that game-changing mindset.
Pam Harper: That’s right.
Scott Harper: Pam, any final thoughts about changing the game?
Pam Harper: The secret of achieving game-changing results is really accessible to anyone. It hinges on being willing to step out of your habits, perceive things differently, and have the conversations that enable you to redefine and make decisions about what’s possible. When you do this on a regular basis, those opportunities will seemingly appear out of nowhere, and the route to game-changing results will open up as never before. We promise you.
Scott Harper: Yeah. Thanks, Pam, and thanks to you out there for listening to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper and Scott Harper. To check out resources related to today’s conversation, read our bios, share on social media, find out about upcoming episodes, or open a conversation with us, go to GrowthIgnitersRadio.com and select episode sixty-six.
Pam Harper: Until next time, this is Pam Harper…
Scott Harper: And Scott Harper…
Pam Harper: Wishing you continued success, and leaving you with this question to discuss with your team:
Scott Harper: What can we do today to bump our habitual thinking out of its normal path so we can more quickly and easily open up our perceptions about what is possible?