same creates same, different creates different

I saw an article last week (sorry, don’t remember where) about how some leaders such as Obama and the Facebook guy limit the small decisions they have to make so they have the focus and brainpower to make the important decisions. Makes sense enough, but I got to wondering if that also applies to innovation.

It’s pretty easy to remove decision points throughout the day. Wear the same clothes, eat the same food, drive the same route, follow the same schedule – no thought required. But, it seems that most innovations come from “different”, not “same”. They come from outside the field, are sparked by a fresh perspective, are caused by looking at the old problem in a new light.

The same actions will never create different results. Same creates same, different creates different. This is the power of diversity. I suspect that innovation benefits from taking different routes to work, trying new styles, going new places, talking to different people, reading different books and magazines. Mix it up, shake it up, tear it down, build it up, shatter and integrate. Seek different. See what happens.

7 reasons you don’t need to worry about diversity in your company

Lots of talk about diversity these days, but you may be wondering if it’s for you. I’ve created a short cheat sheet to help you decide if there might be any benefits to creating more diversity in your team or company:

1. You already have diversity handled. You’ve checked all the boxes and have at least one of every demographic with legal ramifications.

2. You find differing facts, perspectives, and ideas to be distracting. You continue making the same decisions you’ve always made while waiting for this whole “innovation” fad to pass.

3. You’ve branded yourself as the “buggy whip manufacturer of [your industry].” You view falling hopelessly behind as adhering to tradition and you’re ok riding tradition right into the ground.

4. You hate all the challenges caused by people who are different from each other. Some days it actually forces you to manage people or even (gulp!) lead them.

5. You see no connection between performance, innovation, creativity, and differing perspectives.

6. Every single customer and potential customer has the EXACT same thoughts, concerns, problems, and needs as you.

7. You are so fantastically awesome that the only way you could get better is to surround yourself with people EXACTLY like you.

Any other reasons I should add?


i know what i know. do you?

I live out in the country and drive the same route to work every morning and, depending on who is getting which of our kids, drive the same route home at least three evenings a week plus multiple times on the weekend.

I know this route.

Except that the other day I noticed that a section of road that I would have sworn was 60mph wasn’t. What? No, it has to be 60mph. I know it is because I routinely grumble that the speed limit is too slow for that particular road.

I don’t know this route.

When did the speed limit change? When did it get raised to 65? Don’t know. It could have been over the weekend. Or, more likely, it was raised about a year ago when a connecting section of road also had its speed limit raised.

I know the answer yet I don’t. I only think I do. It changed when I wasn’t paying attention. I’ve been living by old rules and circumstances, unaware that they no longer apply. Unaware that I’ve been holding myself back.

The speed limit is a pretty minor thing. Yet, I have the opportunity to see the new rules daily. There is the immediate feedback of cars passing me that might cause me to question what I know, but never did. How much else that I know to be true might now be outdated. Incorrect. Wrong.

If it took so long to change a superficial belief system about HOW THINGS ARE despite all the contrary evidence, how long would it take me to change what I believe about topics I really care about?

What do you know that you don’t know?

So, how’s your diversity and inclusion initiative going?

How convinced are you that you really know the skills and experience required to succeed in that position you’re trying to fill?

What new technologies might make your job easier?

What are the top three actions you need to take this year to succeed in your own job?

Are you sure?

I know what I know. What do you know? What are the odds we might be wrong?