Seth Godin has said a number of insightful things that ring clear as a bell with me, including this:
“Don’t think outside the box, because outside the box there’s a vacuum. Outside the box, there are no rules, there is no reality. You have nothing to interact with, nothing to work against. You need to think along the edges of the box, because that’s where things get done. That’s where the audience is, that’s where the means of production are available, and that’s where you can make an impact.”
I’ve taken Seth Godin’s observation to heart because it is the path you have to choose as an entrepreneur to create new products and services for the people you want to be your customers. If you move too far outside of their worldview – their comfort zone – there will be no acceptance. No adoption.
The inverse of this is that massive change – the sort that reshapes industries – pushes everyone outside of their comfort zone. Consider, for example, the disruption of Uber. Its concept is so transformational that entire countries currently are deciding whether to prohibit the service. The traditional services Uber seeks to disrupt are taking all kinds reactive steps, many of which are actually offensive to their remaining customers.
A lot of people feel like they’re being pushed into a vacuum.
So, is there a middle road? A hybrid?
I believe there is. It starts with giving yourself permission to envision massive change. Then, task yourself to design a solution that’s totally outside the box.
It’s lonely and scary outside the box. But, it’s where you eventually want to be.
Plan, however, to go there incrementally.
The edge of the box is a fine line, but you can walk along it and expand the box. You can blow up that box to exponential proportions when you move with deliberate focus. At the same time, you must provide the assurance people need to exist comfortably in that new space.
There’s nothing wrong with massive change. The biggest resistance is created only by the speed in which change is delivered.
So sayeth the StickMonkey.