Look Broader. Look Closer. Think Younger.

Recently, I had the chance to do a presentation for my weekly networking group. It’s a daunting task. What does one talk about? What can I say to inspire my colleagues? What knowledge can I share that can help tell my story and more importantly what can I say to inspire them to grow their business? Yes, as business people we all need a logo, a business card, website, and letterhead. We all need collateral materials, brochures, product literature and branding to stand out from the crowd, and the ability tell our story of what makes us great business people but… How did we get where we are? Where are we going?

Ivan Misner the founder of BNI talks about the 7 Core principals of BNI. I’m not going to go into all of those, but I do want to mention #4. Traditions plus Innovations.

Huh? Traditions plus Innovations?
That’s counter intuitive!

Well, traditions of an organization or family tell us where we come from and lay the foundation of who we are, but we must always be innovative as professionals in our respective fields or as members of the human race so that we can move forward with advancements both professionally and personally. Think about that for a minute. It’s true!

In my field it is my job as a marketer to see communication issues and offer solutions to create awareness for brands, products, and businesses. Without understanding the “traditions” of myself or of an organization I cannot help “innovate” for myself or for a client.

Take the following three points and think about how they each relate to traditions plus innovation.


Look Broader. Look Closer. Think Younger. 

Look Broader: When tackling a communications issue there’s a lot of moving parts. If you can take a step back and look at what the product or service is, who is the target customer you want to reach and why your product or service is the best for them?

Look Closer: Look closely at your business. Look honestly at your business. Is your business where you want it to be? What can you change to make your services or products a better experience for your customer? Customers buy on need but they also buy on experience. What is your customer’s experience?

Focus on the tiniest of details and ask yourself “Is this the best way of doing this or are we doing it this way because we’ve always done it this way?”

Think Younger: Everyday I’m around my kids and they ask all kinds of questions and give reasons as to why they think something is the way that it is. Sometimes some of these thoughts and questions are really smart. Sometimes my answer is “I don’t know… That’s just how the world works.” But my kids are 10 and 8. That’s not an acceptable answer to them. They haven’t been around long enough to go with the flow. Sometimes when they run into a problem you can immediately see the gears turning and watch them try to find a way or an answer. Sometimes, just sometimes they even find a better way to do things. Young minds can be some of the most creative minds. They don’t have the references that “seasoned” veterans have. They haven’t been habituated. To them it’s new.

Have young minds on your team. Talk to young people about your product or service. Learn from them. Doing this will force everyone to think younger and will cause you to discover a new way to be innovative or a different way to do things. Don’t overthink it! Simplify it!