The greatest business success stories are often tales of reinvention: Apple, left for dead, resurrecting itself through music and smartphones; or Fab.com, which was once a failed gay social network that “pivoted” its way into commercial dominance as a flash sale site. So how do you bring a culture of innovation – of reinvention – to your business? It starts by reinventing yourself.
Intellectually, we all know that if we keep trying the same thing, we’ll get the same results. But it’s hard when, oftentimes, our strategies and techniques spring from who we are and how we’ve always done business. As I learned through writing Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future, my recent book from Harvard Business Review Press, innovation requires change at a fundamental level: we first have to look deeply at who we are as leaders and as people.
I’m participating in UnleashWD because I’m excited to share with, and learn from, a group of executives and entrepreneurs who are willing to ask the hard questions. Incremental progress comes from looking at existing procedures and asking, ‘How can we make it better?’ But exponential growth comes from looking outside your own industry or niche and saying, ‘What can we learn from others’ experience, how can we challenge our assumptions, and how do we change the game’?
We can’t inspire our employees if we aren’t willing to do the hard work ourselves. Reinvention starts at home – inside all of us.
This article first appeared at UnleashdWD
Dorie Clark is a marketing strategist who teaches at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Learn more about her book Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future (Harvard Business Review Press) and follow her on Twitter.