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Your worldviews, strategies, and tactics that used to make things happen will most probably stop working effectively.
So, a replay of the above is out of the question.
What is necessary and urgent is reinvention.
What does that mean?
Let’s say you did not exist here. Imagine you were dropped on this planet one day after the COVID crisis dies down. After a few days of observing everything around you, you will determine what skills you need to thrive in this world. Imagine you acquired all the necessary skills and became the person you and those around you would be proud of.
The path to becoming that person is how you reinvent yourself.
Radical reinvention is not a luxury, but a necessity because how the world operates has changed. So, incremental improvements in what you bring to the table are meaningless. Radical reinvention forces you to look at all your aspects and your work end-to-end and not restrict it to fixing something that seems to be broken.
How radical should the reinvention be?
Well, you are the only person who can decide that. My suggestion is to be prepared and welcome whatever degree of radicalness that is required to make it happen.
An analogy would be a full-body check up with a DNA analysis from the company 23AndMe to see your overall health and a plan of action from a doctor and a nutritionist.
The world is looking for a different offer from you and not a better-than-before version of what you are already bringing.
It is important to note that reinventing yourself is not going to give you an upgrade. Rather, think of it as without reinventing yourself, you won’t have an entry ticket to the new game. You will be relegated to the sidelines where all you can do is watch others play.
Now, let us talk about one key challenge and one progress marker for this initiative.
The key challenge that you will face is the reluctance to change and the willingness to unlearn. You don’t need a primer about the need for these two inter-related items. Without the willingness to unlearn, the canvas is too crowded for you to add something new. Without the willingness to change, you will go back to what you were doing before, resulting in a common phenomenon called “going in circles.”
It is outside the scope of this book to cover both of them, but there is enough written about how to unlearn and navigate change with grace.
Now, coming to the progress marker. You need a progress marker to check on yourself to ensure that you are actually moving the needle in real life and not manufacturing progress in your head.
"The electric light did not come from the continuous improvement of candles"
If you truly reinvent yourself, you will shift the criteria with which the marketplace puts a value for your offer. You will stand out with ease.
Let me give you a couple of examples that all of us are very familiar with:
First, iPod from Apple:
When Apple created the iPod, they did not create something that is marginally better than other CD players.
In fact, you could not compare the iPod to a CD player. It was a different
offering compared to what existed in the marketplace. Result: 375,000 units of iPod were sold in the first year. The iPod set the standard for how music was consumed by the world.
Second, Kindle from Amazon:
Amazon did not create another eBook reader. They created a platform
with which readers could interact with digital content. Amazon worked with partners that include major publishers to enable one-click access to digital content. Result: 500,000 units of Amazon Kindle were sold in the first year. Kindle set the standard for how to distribute digital content.
If you observe both the examples above, you will see that both offerings shifted the criteria for how they should be compared with existing offerings in the marketplace. They were not “also-ran”s that were marginally better than existing offerings. They were truly different ones.
On one level, we are all unique and on another level, we are all common. If your offer to the world is common, you are competing with a boatload of people.
Simply because everything that’s common responds with a similar answer for the criteria set to measure it. If you are part of the common, the only answer you have is to work hard and provide a better answer. When others respond with a similar strategy, there is a dog fight and everyone in the game is in trouble.
A better way to solve this dilemma is to be that someone who gets measured by criteria that are different from the current market standards. That is precisely where you will bring out your uniqueness and more.
You can fall into the common trap and try to match the current offerings. In that case, you will need to offer everything that fits the standard criteria set by the marketplace and a lot more. There’s another option. Offer something that will make the existing offers in the marketplace seem irrelevant. In simple terms, you need to sufficiently distinguish yourself in the marketplace to make your mark and demand a premium.
Before you hatch your reinvention plans, you need to be aware of a seemingly innocent-looking blindspot you need to take care of.
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© 2005 - 2020 Rajesh Setty.