How to Think Bigger-er with Bill Harper, Ep #42

How to Think Bigger-er with Bill Harper, Ep #42

Mark Raffan

Many brands are becoming myopic. They’ve stopped thinking outside of their own sphere. Bill Harper believes that this was made worse by the pandemic. Everyone froze like deer in headlights. The problem is that brands are starting to act like commodities. They’re all touting the same thing: “We have better product, better people, we work harder, we care more…” That has absolutely nothing to do with thinking big. They somehow believe the passion for their business will bleed through to the other side and will engage the consumer. It’s an interesting problem that’s been getting worse. In this episode, we talk about the right way to think bigger with your brand. Check it out!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:44] 3 actionable strategies + tactics
  • [2:28] How to think bigger-er
  • [11:14] Don’t let the cats herd you
  • [21:22] It’s not about you and it never was
  • [28:47] How to connect with Bill Harper

How to think bigger-er

Bill’s mission is to challenge brands to think bigger-er than what they had been. When businesses begin, the leadership teams see no barriers. They see the world as an opportunity. Then they start protecting their revenue and people. They get safer and safer, which is the kiss of death. They end up with a commodity brand. They fight on price, features, and benefits—all fleeting. Businesses are selling themselves short. They’ve stopped focusing on the “what if” and are focusing on the “what is.”

The differentiating factor IS the brand

To a large extent, we have to blame our own mindsets. The differentiating factor should be the brand. So how do you change the mindset? Bill believes leadership doesn’t teach people how to be proactive. People are hired for different skill sets—selling, strategizing, running campaigns, managing external vendors, etc. But they aren’t taught how to be proactive in a way that serves the interest of the leadership team. At the end of the day, it’s not happening. It all becomes trial and error—which leads to failure.

Foster innovation—don’t stomp out creativity

Someone new comes in bursting with new ideas, which the leadership team promptly shoots down. In doing so, this new person has been taught not to participate. Instead of fostering bringing innovation to the table, these people will no longer voice their thoughts or opinions. Leadership is notoriously bad at educating people on how to be proactive in a way that leads to a good outcome of the business.

People are time-starved and find themselves in a position where their contributions aren’t valued. They stop being bold or brave. But they must program themselves not to be fearful and find inspiration.

A typewriter company stood its ground after word-processing came out, stating they made the best typewriter in the business. They mantra’d themselves right out of business. The whole notion of “we don’t do it that way here” is more pervasive than ever. Bill emphasizes that we need to foster participation and contribution a whole lot more.

Protect your team’s creative time

Tim Farris once said that most people would find his daily routine boring. Why? Because most of his day is spent looking for the “big domino.” He thinks about what the next creative domino will be that will drive down everything else. He gives himself time to be creative. We tend to classify creative thinking as something that’s not productive. It gets demonized because it can’t be measured.

How do you give your people time to think creatively? How do you protect creative time? How do you think about how you can iterate that you have to become something significantly greater? People don’t think like this anymore. Performance has taken over creative thought and intuition. It’s a shame because that’s where innovation begins. Without that, very little progress will be made.

Listen to the whole episode for a discussion about how your brand is NOT about you (and never was) and why you can’t “let the cats herd you.” Don’t miss this fun and insightful episode!

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Bill Harper

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Mark Raffan

Mark Raffan

Mark is a serial entrepreneur and lover of marketing and influence. Mark built the #1 negotiation podcast in the world and is an expert negotiation, influence, and persuasion coach that has coached executives and their teams in some of the largest companies in the world.