I had an enjoyable exchange of ideas with Harvey Lloyd in which Harvey wrote, “People inherit the past saving ideas that stack up within the new saving ideas”. He went on and wrote, “Here it is commonplace now for us to tell one another how to live in order to be better”.
This made me wonder where authenticity is. If we stock old beliefs and instructions from others, how much authenticity do we have?
It is unfortunate that we do not apply the practice of FIFO (First In, First Out). We do the reverse and follow the practice of FI LO). That is First In, Last Out.
We inherit ideas, habits, beliefs, and rituals, and the longer we keep them the more difficult it gets to dispose of them. We feel we own these ideas, habits, beliefs, and rituals. They become part of us we resist changing them.
Change is fast. Our social habits are changing. Our lifestyles are changing. How and where we do our work is changing too. The way we sell and market is changing fast too. Amid all those changes our beliefs and ideas of doing business remain because we inherited how we do business or because the majority of businesses do it this way.
The Laundry Story
I recall that I gave a lecture in the UAE about creative marketing. Following the lecture, one attendee requested a few minutes of my time to help him solve his business problem of having only a few and sporadic customers. He told me he has better equipment than his rivals do.
I then asked him a few questions. I concluded that customers were loyal to the laundries that serve them. There was no clear differentiation. I then asked him about the operating hours of the laundries. He replied that they all work the same hours and almost all of them close their days around 7 p.m.
My advice to him was to move out of the red ocean and work mostly at night hours. He rejected the idea right away because he inherited the business from his father. I insisted that he try the idea and advertise that his laundry is available during night hours.
People who were in need to go suddenly to social activity and have their laundry done quickly were relieved to find a service provider. Six months later the man opened two branches as his business flourished.
Differentiation based on being controversial to the common beliefs is a strong differentiator because people resist changing their beliefs. They are trapped in old thinking and ideas that fail the test of time.
The literature is full of examples about companies building their strategies on false beliefs failed.
Success based on true belief today might become the source of failure tomorrow because the belief became false.
The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.
Building new ideas from inherited beliefs, ideas, habits, and rituals is the strongest differentiator for businesses to have if they themselves unload their old thinking and make it the first thing out.