‘Go Opposite’ to Solve Your Toughest Challenges, Part II

After the burly 37 year-old Herwald beat the 61 year-old Kelleher (who wore one arm in a sling and smoked a cigarette during the entire match), Herwald declared that he was going to share the slogan anyway and both competitors ended up giving donations to their favorite charities on the spot.

The result?

No court costs. Two charities (the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Ronald McDonald House) got healthy donations. Both companies got to use the slogan. Both companies got a healthy dose of public good will and great publicity. And hundreds of employees had a blast at a famous Dallas wrestling arena.

For an airline born in a three-year court battle, it was quite a moment: Southwest had gone opposite.

A new direction

Ready to try the “go opposite” concept in your own organization? Here are the key things to keep in mind:

  • Make a list of everything your competitors are doing and, in this case, that includes internal groups competing for resources. Look at each item on the list and ask yourself, “How can we gain an advantage by doing the opposite?”
  • Identify your current way of thinking regarding any subject in your industry. Think the opposite to see new opportunities.
  • List the key elements or steps that everyone, in our case, IT does and ask of each one in turn, “Is there some creative way to do the exact opposite of what everyone else already does?”
  • With any particular project, goal, or objective, break that into its component parts and then look at each part, asking yourself: “Is there a way to gain advantage by turning that one step, component or aspect on its head and doing the opposite?”

Remember unlike cooperation, collaboration creates a bigger pie. Therefore, look at every action you are taking now in your work and ask yourself: “Is there a way I could be more effective in this area by collaborating with others in the industry?”

Looking where no one else is looking helps you see what no one else is seeing and, then, do what no one else is doing. Remember, the future always wins. Know that “The way we’ve always done it” is almost certain to become obsolete — and soon. The pathway that will be most profitable in the years ahead is the pathway nobody is taking yet. If it can be done, it will be done and if you don’t do it, someone else will.

Happy hunting!

Daniel Burrus is considered one of the world’s leading technology forecasters and business strategists, and is the founder and CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends to help clients better understand how technological, social and business forces are converging to create enormous, untapped opportunities. He is the author of six books, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal best seller Flash Foresight: How To See the Invisible and Do the Impossible as well as the highly acclaimed Technotrends.