Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pioneers are lonely

Have you ever noticed that the first people to try something new are treated as outcasts? Think about it. This is particularly true as it pertains to teenagers, music and fashion. Think about the kids with the long hair, then the short hair, then the colored hair and the no hair. The first kids to wear grunge were considered bums. Nobody understood rap or gangsta to start and now it is some of the fastest selling music.

The same thing is true in business. Those who believed the internet would change the world were thought to be wasting their time. The first leaders that believed people could work from home were considered crazy. How would we ever keep track of them? The forward-looking leaders that first understood the importance of executing flawless complex supply chains were exiled. Now we all know the supplier chain management is a competitive discriminator. There are still many leaders that have not embraced the impact web 2.0 can have. Many of us already use it as the norm.

If you accept that these pioneers are lonely front liners, then that is exactly where we should always be looking for talent. Leaders need to look for what is new and where trends are headed.

How do you stay current and find fresh ideas, talent and trends?


Brittany Moore said...

And you definitely want to be the "lonely" one because this lets you know you're doing something right. If you try to copy other people you will never be able to do better than them, you'll only be able to match what they have already done. It's hard at first being the only one, but it pays off in the end when everyone is following your lead.

Anonymous said...

I agree that business must understand and use useful technology. I see too many companies that think a corporate web site doesn't say what they do and it contains the generic '' for company contact.
Companies must also need to undersand their technology needs to work 100% of the time. I attempted to buy a ticket at the American Airlines web site this weekend during the purchasing process the web site terminated.
It isn't a perfect world but if you want sales you need a robust system that works.

Anonymous said...

Early in my career one of my managers gave me this pearl of wisdom, "every idea needs a champion...". Any idea is just that unless it has a champion to make it a reality. I can tell you from personal experience that it isn't always easy being a champion.

Suman said...

Interesting point. Actually in many cases like Einstein/ Stanford, pioneers are not just left alone but actually ostracized but different thinking! Go Figure :)

John Bishop said...

Right on. Leaders are often chased away due to being misunderstood. We all need to be careful who we scare away.

Erik Pedersen said...

I agree that those who offer different ideas are often the ones shunned by the group. I have found there are some people that disagree with the current vision and have a tough time advocating for themselves. The key is to find and nurture these folks so they can voice dissenting opinions and perhaps a better path. It can also be difficult to differentiate these visionaries from people who just don't want to change or who just want to complain. I think a strong, diverse team that has opportunities to speak openly is the best structure for capturing all ideas. Good Posting.

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