Trying stuff

One of my favorite brand slogans is Columbia Sportswear’s: “Trying stuff since 1938.”  It’s not only a corporate philosophy, but it also speaks to the ethos of many of their customers.

I also love what J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler recently said about his brand’s nascent re-entry into the Chinese market: “I don’t consider this a huge risk at all and if, in fact, we didn’t succeed in Hong Kong, life goes on. We’ll figure out alternatives.”

What’s embedded in both statements is complete acceptance that growth does not spring from the relentless pursuit of perfection. They realize that you don’t require a complete and crystal clear view of all the next moves before you make your first. Innovation is an iterative process and, more often than not, he who hesitates is toast.

But for many of us–and our organizations–a brutally honest slogan might go something like this:

“Too afraid to try anything because I might look foolish if I’m wrong.”

“Waiting to see what the competition does before I do anything.”

“I never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

“Treading water since grad school.”

“Enjoying the action from the sidelines.”

Compared to those maybe “Trying stuff since yesterday” doesn’t sound so bad?


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