Compete to be unique, Brilliant Problem-Solving Strategy, Thought leader vs thinker? & Holiday Reading List
23rd January 2022 Evolution Partners Newsletter
“Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing.” — Benjamin Franklin.
Hope you’re Thriving!
Over the holiday season, I’ve collected some of my favourite articles from the year to share with you. Kind of like a ‘best of’ from 2021. Couple this with the reading list and hopefully there is something of real interest and value for you each week. I’m keeping them short and sharp.
Enjoy your holidays, stay safe and I hope you enjoy.
See you in 2022!
My favourite articles
Compete to be unique
Why should anyone buy your product over a competitor’s product? How is your product or service different from your competition?
Maybe you’re going to react to that question by saying “better service” or “better people”.
Instead of competing to the best, leadership teams should focus on competing to be unique.
Being the best involves expensive trade-offs, and when your competitors are also focusing on being the best, it will ultimately come down to price vs cost.
Here’s an example of uniqueness when all competitors are similar and is an interesting image demonstrating uniqueness in the car market.
Our Brain Typically Overlooks This Brilliant Problem-Solving Strategy
What if, in all your strategy and priority setting with your leadership team, there was one brilliant thing you weren’t using?
Looking at the grid below, if you were asked to make it symmetrical, how would you do it?
Most people would think about how to add green squares. Very few people would consider how to remove the six green squares in the top right.
Well, you may be limiting your creativity by adding things instead of removing things in all the work you’re doing.
For example. When was the last time one of your teams’ quarterly priorities was to remove something rather than add or build something?
It turns out that our brains are wired to add things rather than take things away, which doesn’t always create the best outcome. And that comes at a cost that we can easily ignore.
For example, in some European cities, urban planners have gotten rid of traffic lights and road signs to make streets safer — an idea that runs counter to conventional traffic design.
Read the Scientific American article here Our Brain Typically Overlooks This Brilliant Problem-Solving Strategy
Thought leader vs thinker?
The term thought leader could easily invoke criticism, especially when it’s used by people describing themselves. And double especially when there is no bona fide credibility behind the statement. To achieve Grand Master chess level one requires an ELO rating of at least 2500 plus two favourable results from at least 27 games in tournaments. It’s difficult to disagree with that distinction.
So thinking about the difference between a thought leader and a thinker this week, I was considering all the work that’s gone in to make useful books in a library. Perhaps one definition of a thought leader could be the usefulness of their work. What is the measurable work that they have produced, and how useful is it to society?
Then thinking about a thinker.
At an event last year, someone described me as a thinker; I don’t know why, but that was their interpretation. And then I contemplated on that and thought (yes, I see the irony) that the only true freedom for a thinker is to produce work. The reason I do a newsletter every week and a podcast every week, which is a considerable amount of work, is that it simply frees me to be able to think clearly.
So I think you can’t call yourself a thought leader unless you have a measurable quantity of work that has been highly useful for society. And you can’t be called a thinker unless you regularly produce useful work.
Well, let’s hope you can find something useful in today’s newsletter or podcast!
Holiday Reading List
If you’re like me, you often think to yourself ‘how can I occupy my mind while I’m not working in an interesting way that’s improving both my knowledge and effectiveness?’ Maybe not, maybe you think I’m on holiday I want to rest. But either way, I’ve curated a list to get you thinking over the holidays. I’ve grouped these into my favourites for each section that you can browse to see what interests you.
- The Gospel of Wealth – Andrew Carnegie
- Management time: Who’s got the monkey
- How using 3HAG can turbocharge your business growth
- Pareto 80 20 Rule
- Can you say what your strategy is?
- Wait But Why – The Story of Us
- Scott Galloway – The Algebra of Happiness — A video, not blog but the best way to spend 10 minutes.
- Paul Graham – Is it worth being wise?
- Naval – How to get rich every episode
- How to write better emails
Blog posts I’ve written
- Why I wrote Made to Thrive
- The two lenses of strategy
- First survive and then thrive
- Replace busy with stupid
- Mastery is pain
Bonus old one
- How is Australia Post in a growth market and losing money
- Shane Parish – The Knowledge Project
- Tim Ferris – The Tim Ferris Show
- Pat Lencioni – At the Table
- Alex Goldfayn – Sell More Now
- Shane Parish & Jim Collins
- Joe Rogan & Naval Ravikant
- How I built this with Guy Raz – Dyson, James Dyson
- Sam Harris with Jonathan Haidt (The Coddling of the American Mind)
- Shane Parish & Jim Dethmer: Leading Above the Line
- Ego is the Enemy – Ryan Holiday
- Good to Great – Jim Collins
- Necessary Endings – Dr Henry Cloud
- The 7 hidden reasons employees leave – Leigh Branham
- Think Again – Adam Grant
Bonus three books
This week on The Growth Whisperers podcast
The weekly meeting is the key to successful execution. The leadership team takes the strategy of a company developed at an annual meeting, which is then translated into a series of priorities at a quarterly meeting, and then the team executes the priorities through the weekly meeting accountability and updates.
Many teams feel that they already have too many meetings and that yet another meeting doesn’t make sense. But the weekly meeting – within the meeting rhythm – is designed to significantly reduce the number of meetings leaders need to have.
In this episode, Brad and Kevin discuss why you need a weekly meeting, what a weekly meeting agenda must include, and tips for a successful weekly meeting.
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