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Challenging the Status Quo

A few weeks ago, the blogosphere was abuzz about the pilot of a new TV show, Trial by Fire, featuring The 4-Hour Workweek author, Tim Ferriss.

Regrettably, I missed the show, however, based on his book, his blog postings and what I have read about the TV show I have noticed that Tim, above all things does one thing and does that very well: learn.

Tim has won dancing and martial arts competitions, speaks several languages, is extremely proficient in business, writing and blogging and yet finds the time to do more and more.

How? It seems as if he has gotten a good handle on how to learn.

Not only has he mastered the art of learning, but based on the trailer for the show as well as some of his blog posts, he strives to learn things quickly.

He doesn’t look to learn things the old fashioned way where you study, read and memorize, but he learns by doing. He looks for shortcuts and he challenges the way things are traditionally done in the interest of reducing time invested in an activity to get results faster.

I think we can all learn from this. Tim challenges the status quo when learning something in order to get results faster.

While I am a big advocate of using your larger competitors as a guide to your own marketing, that doesn’t mean I believe you should blindly follow what they are doing. Rather, you should, like Tim does, challenge the status quo by testing, then measure the results.

By challenging the status quo, you can uncover new, more efficient and effective ways of doing something that your competitors may not have noticed before. And by testing, you aren’t tying up too much of your budgets to a technique you aren’t sure will work.

Entrepreneurs are constantly challenging the status quo every day by innovating and creating. We shouldn’t let our innovation and creativity stop with product/service development. Incorporate these competencies into your marketing and operations as well.

All businesses should become in-tune with the way we learn, react, adapt as well as retain information. The more intimate of an understanding we have in our business’ ability to do these things, the better we can position our businesses to move faster, especially through redundant and costly processes.

But in order to do this we must first recognize that the status quo isn’t necessarily ideal. There just might be a better way of doing something and it is vital for our competitive edge that we question what is “normal” and act on it.

We profit by challenging the status quo, why can’t we market and operate by challenging the norm as well?

2 comments… add one
  • Tom Volkar / Delightful Work December 26, 2008, 8:14 am

    This post made me think of the advice of Earl Nightengale. He said we ought to look around and see what the majority is doing and then do the exact opposite. The character George on Seinfeld once went totally against his normal way of responding and got superior relationship results. Every business gets in ruts that stem from same thinking. I’m with you. We need to shhake things up, frequently so we can see fresh opportunities.

  • Matt Thomas December 27, 2008, 12:49 am

    Thank you, Tom, great point. Not only will shaking things up bring us better results, but like you said it will bring us new opportunities–not just within our existing businesses, but new business ideas as well.

    By being dissatisfied with the status quo, we can identify new business opportunities in existing products and services that can be improved upon.

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