A blog series for U.S. partners by Jenni Flinders, Microsoft U.S. Vice President, Partner Strategy and Programs.
The title of my post this month is a quote borrowed from famed fashion designer and icon, Coco Chanel, and I believe these words are very true for the channel. As a Microsoft partner, you’ve joined us in the business of innovation. Your company lives and dies by the strength and uniqueness of its ideas. So, what will you gain a reputation for if you think and do the same things as everyone else? That you’re the same as everyone else! And in the innovation industry, where technologies and business models are forever evolving, there’s no room for “sameness.”
Every opportunity to grow and advance in my own career has resulted from a willingness to step outside of my comfort zone and view a business, an issue—even myself—in a surprising and counterintuitive way. In order to differentiate your business from competitors, generate business, and attract and retain top talent, you’ve got to think differently, too.
A strategy that has always served me well is to surround myself with people from anywhere but the technology industry. Surprised? Naturally, I’m inspired by my technology colleagues and leaders, but I have also discovered the power that industry outsiders, outliers, and contrarians have to challenge my thought process and ideas. I’d like to share with you some videos of amazing speakers who come from diverse fields—forensic psychology, design, academia, and mechanical engineering—and who have recently spoken at TEDx events. Each of the videos is no more than about 20 minutes, but each speaker really packs a punch. Hearing their points of view might just break the mold of your own day-to-day thinking—which can help you break away from the pack in the marketplace.
- Scott Fraser: Why eyewitnesses get it wrong
- Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are
- Amos Winter: The cheap all-terrain wheelchair
- John Maeda: How art, technology and design inform creative leaders
- Eddie Obeng: Smart failure for a fast-changing world
These videos are only the beginning; I encourage you to actively build a network of people you trust and who can bring new, exciting perspectives into your business thinking. It will allow you to challenge any “business as usual” ruts in how you operate your business, create new service and product offerings, and engage with customers and employees.
Are you ready to step boldly into a new way of thinking while preparing for future change in the technology industry? Follow me on Twitter @Jenni_Flinders and tell me how you plan to change your thinking for the benefit of your business.