I was at a conference for technology service providers – the folks who setup computers, network them together, and fix them when things go awry. The event was filled with tips, tricks and strategies on how to market and grow technology businesses. The only problem with the event was that there was too much head nodding.
As different technology experts and gurus took the stage to share their “secret formulas,” the audience acknowledged idea after idea with nodding heads and occasional applause. They weren’t showing appreciation for truly new ideas, they were showing appreciation for each idea that affirmed what they already knew.
At the end of the event, I tallied all the ideas that were presented and conclude that fifteen were truly unique. I then took an informal survey of the participants. I asked them what they were going to do with these fifteen ideas. To my surprise, not a single participant saw a single idea as something new, but as something they could do better at. These ideas weren’t unique, they simply affirmed the same ol’ same ol’.
Are you seeking new ideas from the competitors and gurus in your industry? You won’t find new ideas there. The same people, in the same industry, have the same ideas. The insider gets trapped in trying to improve the same ol’ ideas, and by default never discovers new ones.
Ironically of all the people who were at the tech conference, I was the one who gained the most. I am an author. I own a business growth accelerator. I am far removed from technology services (at least nowadays). Being the outsider at this event, I heard idea after idea that was new to me. My business doesn’t operate like the technology service sector, and therefore their ideas broke the rules of the author industry and growth acceleration industry. I left ripe with new, unique ideas that I implemented in my business immediately.
The next time you catch yourself nodding in agreement at your industry conference, realize you aren’t learning, you’re affirming. It’s time you become the outsider.