That's Not How Good Ideas Work
I don’t subscribe to many email newsletters but one that I do like to read is from Rob Hatch and Chris Brogan of Owner Media Group. They always have great ideas and perspectives on doing business at a granular level - how to organize your thinking, how to position and market yourself and your products and so much more.
Rob recently sent an email about how we think about “ideas” in business, specifically referring to Chris’ book, Trust Agents, published ten years ago. He talked about how he still found the ideas discussed to be relevant. Still as applicable today as it was a decade ago.
But the problem is, as Rob wrote in a recent email, we tend not to do that with business books:
We read, we nod our heads in agreement, and go on our way. Sure there are concepts we'll play with and maybe integrate on some level. But eventually, they end up on the back of a shelf where we ignore them and assume they've expired.
That's not how good ideas work. The best ones are worth revisiting and looking for fresh ways to apply them.
He’s absolutely right. The older the book, the more we park them and tend to avoid them, looking for the next new trick, the next fresh idea, the next big thing. I mean, I’m always looking for a shiny new tome that catches my eye, that will transform the way I think and operate and perform.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that. Management thinking, as with anything else, is constantly evolving, constantly changing, so it’s important to keep on top of the changes that are taking place.
But the fact of the matter is, that the fundamentals of business don’t really change. Good ideas are timeless and enduring. No amount of economic and political change is going to alter that fact. No upheaval of the cultural climate will undermine these fundamentals.
And so, these good - great - ideas endure.
Start with the customer. Give value first. Focus on trust and not the money. Simplify as much as possible. Don’t make the customer work to understand or buy or use your service. And on, and on.
They’re not sexy, they may not require the latest in tech or data science or anything else. They just require good old fashioned focus and persistence and grit and hard work.
As Rob suggests, it’s probably a good idea to go back to your bookshelves and pull out those old faithful books that set you on your way, and revisit the underlying concepts they communicated.
Good books and the ideas they represent, never go out of fashion.