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Blog 4 – If it’s normal, do the exact opposite

When I was 23 years old I went to my first business seminar and I heard a speech I’ll never forget.

Al Fahden, the author of Innovation on Demand kicked off the seminar and had everyone on the edge of their seat.

He was running around the crowd throwing around $2 bills and sharing outrageous stories from his book about how to be different.

It was the way he put his lessons to practice that really hit home with me.

He told the story of how he bought a retail store in Minneapolis and turned it into a bookstore. This wasn’t your typical bookstore. It only sold one book…his. He put his book all over the store and in different sections like business, history and self help. You name it. He even had a sign that said “Shoplifting is encouraged.”

The normal thing to do would have been to have a bookstore with numerous books. Al did the exact opposite.

And the media noticed. He received national attention and was even featured in People magazine. Yes, his book sold. Much better than it would have if he sold it the normal way.

Since that day, I’ve looked at our baseball teams with this different lens. If other teams did something, we would look to do the opposite. We focused on doing nothing that was normal.

That first year we hosted Flatulence Fun Nights, Grandma Beauty Pageants, fired our mascot for steroid use and even offered President George Bush an internship.

Other teams see it as normal to have their players just focus on playing baseball. We have our players dance, sing, do the limbo and anything else that will add to the show.

We look at everything we do and ask is there a better way and can it be different?

This often causes other people to be uncomfortable. People often hear others say “It’s always been done that way.” People hate change. They are scared of it. But it’s often the best way.

Normal will get normal results. Different allows you to stand out and get amazing results.

Stop playing it safe. Take risks. Be different.

What normal thing are you still doing that you can change today?