02/04/2015 01:13 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

"Be Different" for Increased Performance, Productivity, and Profitability


I'm asked regularly by companies to help them find ways to increase their individual and organizational performance, productivity, and profitability. In these situations, two old adages come to mind:

  • "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
  • "If all you ever do is all you've ever done, then all you'll ever get is all you've ever got."

What's the message here? If you keep doing what you've always done, nothing will change. That conclusion seems obvious, yet corporate change is very difficult because people and companies are inertial and change is difficult.

Another essential reality is that doing the same thing also applies in relation to your company's competitors. That is, the best way to get the same results as your competitors is to do the same things that they are doing.

With that introduction, I want to introduce my "Be Different" principle which is based on a simple, yet incontrovertible, premise: To get different results than the recent past and different from your competitors, you and your company must think and do different things, in other words, you must become different.

Becoming different starts with understanding of where you are and where you want be. A delineation of these two metrics helps you catalyze all future action and change.

Think Different

Change begins with considering the thinking the has gone into where you are and where you want to be. You should first examine the attitudes, beliefs, assumptions, and expectations that have gotten you and your company to this point. This exploration should consider all aspects of your company's structure and process, anything that needs to be changed or that prevents change from occurring. This exercise is so important because an individual's or company's underlying thinking drives the decisions that are made, the direction that is chosen, and the actions that are taken.

Do Different

Thinking inherently defines and either enables or discourages how you and your company use your relevant competencies, the development of effective relationships, and productive behaviors.

Result Different

The individual and collective actions that are taken by you and your company directly impact the results that are generated at several levels. First, the outputs that your company produces, whether goods or services. Second, the experiences of your stakeholders including employees and customers. And third, the tangible outcomes that emerge including revenues, market share, and return on investment.

The key point that I am making is that everything that you and your company do, whether productive thinking that will result in positive change and increased performance, productivity, and profitability. If you get your thinking right, everything else will follow.



  1. Select a group of thought leaders in your company who can participate in this exercise.
  2. In groups of 2-4, identify the attitudes, beliefs, assumptions, and expectations that are preventing your company from being more successful.
  3. In groups of 2-4, identify the attitudes, beliefs, assumptions, and expectations that must be adopted for your company to grow.
  4. Create a set of recommendations to implement the consensus thinking that will lead to change and growth.