Creatives Are Courageous

So what did you think of this video? If you sat down to eat at a restaurant that featured a “little” dinner entertainment like the Petite Chef, would you go away impressed? Would you tell somebody?

Last week I wrote about Jordan’s Furniture and what an amazing job they do making an impact on their customers. They EARN the traffic and the business because they value a creative approach. Do you? Does it show? I know that I am a broken record on some of this but I want to hit this point hard today because I really believe that this incredible industry that we all work in could be so much more.

Pablo Picasso said, “Every child is an artist, the only problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” Given all of the boxes that organizations put us in expecting us to produce an outcome, I can see how this statement is true. I have been involved in many business meetings over the years that have been billed as brainstorms run by people that really don’t understand what a real brainstorm is. They all start with great intentions, where people are throwing ideas out, getting excited about a new way to sell something or create something, and either the leader of the meeting or someone else inevitably squashes it by pointing out why it couldn’t possibly work. What happens if you let that meeting run wild, force rank the best ideas, and then figure out how to make something work instead of the default of why it won’t?

The award winning Ring is a doorbell. A doorbell that does some really amazing things but at the end of the day it is a doorbell. Luggage didn’t used to have wheels. Beds didn’t used to tell you anything about your sleep. Retail stores didn’t used to have IMAX theaters. I have spent time with bedding producers and retailers that are concerned about their business surviving. They talk about the competition, macro economic conditions, and the complexity of marketing today as reasons for the problems they face and I totally get that. Mostly now being a small business owner in this industry. HOWEVER, all of the great ideas are not gone! How hard are you working to bring creative ideas to the table? How often do you try them? What kind of creative people do you have on your staff and do you allow them to be creative? If you don’t invest the time or in the kind of people that can take you outside of where you are, the result will never be what it could be.

The challenge with this is to proceed with caution. Inspire the creative approach to business but be calculated in your execution. Try in small doses when you can. Fail cheaply when you can. Make sure that everything intersects DIRECTLY with your business objective in a way that can be clearly measured. I have made this mistake myself and its easy to do when you get caught up in the fun of the new idea.

I loved working at Leggett and Platt so when people ask me why I left a great job at the age of 46 when I had two kids, I tell them its because Simon Spinks has created something so incredible in the business model of “growing beds” that I had to be a part of it. I was inspired. What inspires you? Chase after it because that is where the truly great stuff will happen.



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