If you want to change the world stop wearing Converse*
*Even if everyone else is wearing Converse still stop wearing them (unless you are at home, on holiday or at the park).
You might think that you are being rebellious, challenging things and pushing the boundaries … you might even be in a business where lots of people wear Converse; but even then you shouldn’t wear them – not in public and never with anyone outside of your company or family.
You think that you are changing the world, challenging the establishment.
Time for a wake up call: You are not.
You are playing at it. And most likely playing badly.
Whether you like it or not, the world is full of games. People playing games for your attention, your time and ultimately your money. If they are playing for your time or attention, they are playing for your money. I’ll leave you to make the connection as to why.
- Business is a game.
- Government is a game.
- Sport is a game (obviously), but the sports business is a game.
- School is a game.
And all games have rules. Sometimes these are written, sometimes they are not, but they are always there.
To be be successful, to innovate, to change the world requires you to be more successful than the people and businesses who are already there. You can define success how you want, whether this is money, market share, mindset or votes, but you need to play the game better than those who are already winning it.
To win the game you need to understand the rules. We know that innovation often comes from breaking rules, but don’t confuse this with not understanding them. Innovation does not mean that you don’t understand the rules, it means that you DO understand them and have figured out a way to achieve a better outcome by playing the game more effectively. If you look at innovators, real game changers in business and culture, then you will see that they did understand the rules. They then used this knowledge to outplay others.
A few quick examples
- Jeff Bezos the founder of Amazon may have launched a company that has disrupted the online book and shopping markets, but his expertise was as an investment banker. He understood business models, supply chains and how the market worked in great details.
- Bill Gates was a geek.
- James Dyson was an engineer
They all knew the rules of the game that they wanted to win. They all analysed the game they wanted to win, looked for weaknesses, looked for opportunities to win the game by doing something better. It may be naive and simplistic, but it is also brutally true. Each of these people (and their companies) identified a ‘chink’, an inefficiency, an unexploited opportunity that allowed them to redefine the industry.
So change comes from 3 steps:
- Learn the rules
- Identify the chink
- Exploit the chink
So it is that simple?
Of course not, there are a thousand other steps and actions, but without these three key steps, the others will not matter.
Changing the world, or changing anything is requires you to firstly understand what game you are playing. Who are the players? What are their motives? How do they stay winning? How can you play the game better, smarter, faster and with fewer resources?
When you understand this – and it is not easy, you have a chance to be successful. Until then, you are playing at it, following the winners rules.
So why no Converse?
Clue: Look for a picture of a senior banker, elected politician, successful business leader … in fact any very successful person wearing Converse in their job.
Play the game, just play it better.