Yep, that’s right. A VP of Go. We have lots of VPs of No, but very few who say Go, which ends up muffling innovation, initiation, instigation, and promotes conformity and being stuck. If you look at all the successful companies around us, it’s that constant initiation, or what marketer and bestselling author Seth Godin calls, “poking the box”, that makes them consistently wow us with innovation and deliver products and stuff that we want in the way we want them. Apple. Zappos. They make things happen…
Last night I saw Seth Godin speak at a Linked Orange County event (I interviewed him last week as well, which will be featured in next week’s edition of Insurance Unplugged about his upcoming book, Poke the Box), and his message resonated not only with me but also with the 700-plus people who showed up to hear him. We can’t expect to stand still, not anymore, that’s the bottom line. We’re in the middle of a revolution (digital), and if we don’t initiate now, then when?, asks Seth. Look at what happened with MySpace…they were the lead two years ago, “the Facebook”, and now they’re not because they didn’t initiate.
This is the perfect time to take a leap, in this recession, in this great era of change that the Internet has brought. Seth asks, “Are you going to waste it?”
Failure and fear is why we don’t initiate and years of just doing what we’re asked to do or simply what we’ve been doing. But go, do, create, connect. So you fail. You’ll go again. Seth cites Starbuck’s story as an example. When it was first founded by Jerry Baldwin it was to sell coffee beans. But who wanted to buy coffee beans and actually make coffee back in 1971? Not many. Howard Schultz joined the company and took initiative, took risk, and changed the model to what its today. He poked the box.
Are you initiating? Do you have a culture in your agency, MGA, wholesale operation, company that promotes initiating? Are you taking advantage of how much easier it is to get your products, services out there? Are you blogging? Creating a video to help spread your expertise? Connecting with your customers in ways that were not possible before? Developing a new product, a new program to offer? Or are you stuck? A woman in the audience asked Seth, “I’m stuck. How do I get unstuck”? He asked, “big unstuck or little unstuck?” She said, “big”. We all get stuck, in one way or another. You start with the little things. We know that… and bit by bit you unstuck what you can until you face the big stuff. Nothing new…but as he said, if not now, when?