Every once in a great while I stumble across a way of saying something that is just perfect…at least to me.  So often as I’m reading or listening what is hitting the synapses in my brain do nothing to trigger a response.  And then it happens.  Every once in a while.  It happened on the plane today.

Working my way through The Strategy Paradox, I came across a reference to a study of the decline of the Fortune 100 from 1974 to 2000 (recounted by Nohria, Dyer and Dalzell in a book called Changing Fortunes: Remaking the Industrial Corporation).  It sounds like a very interesting and revealing study.  What I found fascinating was that of the 100 studied, 81 have suffered long, slow declines as a result of a lack of recognition of and adjustment to the slowly changing environment around them.  8 out of 10!

Now…I have to say, that sounds very familiar to me.  In my world, that is all around.  But that’s not the line that gripped me.  Ready for it?  Here is the idea:

"None of these companies would have fared any differently in the long run had they better executed those things they had committed themselves to.  They did not need to be better; they needed to be different (p. 117)."

I have to say that when I read that line I immediately thought of so many conversations and organizations.  The thinking is almost always that we just need to learn to do it better, when the reality is that we need to be different.

What do you think?  Ring any bells for you?

“Different”…Not “Better”
  • “Different is the new better.”
    Not sure where I heard that the first time. I think Tom Peters, but it could have been Howie Hendricks during his class on creativity in ministry.
    I spent 90 minutes reinforcing this notion with a room full of wonderful Iowans last night.
    Different takes courage. We prefer “better sameness” and the approval that brings us.
    God bless the child that draws outside the lines!
    Keep creating…different!

  • Hey, I like that line! Different is the new better!
    I’m finding so many organizations obsessing on improving what they’re doing, when they’re actually doing the wrong things…and THAT’S why they’re stuck. They don’t need to get better. They need to change.
    Thanks for jumping in, Mike!