I’ve always said, keep your eyes on people who live at the ends of any spectrum.
- In politics, be wary of the extreme conservative or liberal.
- In sports, be wary of the player who swings for the fences or the one who waits to be walked.
- In school, stand back and watch the student who maxes out on their course load and the one who takes the bare minimum.
In business, don’t follow people who continuously upset the apple cart or people who never want to change anything.
My advice? Live in the middle of the spectrum and move towards each end based on reasoned and factual thinking. But don’t stay in one place. And don’t stay at one end. Usually, people who live at the ends of a spectrum tend to be either fanatical or lazy.
Years ago, (okay . . . MANY years ago), I worked on a project to deliver GIS (mapping) technology to our salesforce. We were in the beta test stage and had to work with huge (250mb!) replaceable hard drives. Each salesperson had to swop hard drives, update their data, and replace the hard drive. Each hard drive was then FedEx’ed back to our office to erase. I came up with the idea of burning CD’s with the info on them (back then laptops did not have a CD reader). There was a company who developed an external CD reader to connect to the port on the back of the laptop. Problem solved! We would mail the CD’s instead.
You wouldn’t believe the push-back I received from our IT department:
- You can’t do that.
- It will corrupt the drivers on the laptop.
- It will pull too much power and short circuit the battery.
I can go on forever. So I went out with my own credit card, bought the CD drive, hooked it up to my laptop, and transfered the files in 2-3 minutes. Even when I showed them the process and how fast it worked (and so much more economical and easy), they still didn’t want to do it.
They were living on one end of the spectrum. I moved to the other to make things easier for my customers (the salespeople) and much cheaper for the company (hard drives were expensive back then).
Do you find yourself at one end of the spectrum in your career or business? Why? What is it costing you?
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