Filter - Uniquely Better

Posted by David Hill on

Staff Development Essentials Issue 03

Peek in on our staff meeting this month. Gather your team for this talk.

Have you ever been fired up about a new idea only to try it and . . . flop? Or stumble into success that you can’t quite figure out? Why did this work when that didn’t? In a two-part discussion on his podcast, Andy shares two words that have become a filter we apply to all new ideas. (Plus he shares four habits that will improve the quality of your team’s ideas right away.)
Listen to the 2-part discussion on the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast then use the discussion questions to talk it over as a team.

Uniquely Better Part 1
Bottom Line: Our responsibility as leaders is to create a culture that recognizes rather than resists uniquely better.

  • Uniquely better starts with being unique, then leads to being better.
    • Unique – The approach is a unique one, but unique is not necessarily better.
    • Better – The execution of the approach is better than the competition.
  • Somebody somewhere is challenging the assumptions and messing with the rules to the prevailing model.
  • Discovering uniquely better is virtually impossible, but recognizing uniquely better is not.
  • Uniquely better is often the by-product of circumstances successful organizations are trying to avoid.

Team Discussion Questions

  1. Andy used Netflix as an example of a company that recognized a uniquely better way of doing things and adjusted. What are some other examples of companies that recognized a uniquely better method or product?

  2. Has your organization ever been (or are you now) uniquely better at something? What was it?

    • Did your “competition” adopt your way of doing things or have you remained, as Andy and Lane joked, “the only hotdog stand in town?”

    • Have you ever tried something that was unique but that didn’t turn out to be a better way of doing things?

  3. What are some of the circumstances your organization is trying to avoid that may be blinding you to a uniquely better way of doing things? (Hint: Consider how you would fill in this blank: It would be bad news for us if people started/stopped ________________.)

Uniquely Better Part 2
Bottom Line: Our responsibility as leaders is to create a culture that recognizes rather than resists uniquely better.
There are four habits that will help an organization recognize uniquely better.

  1. Be a student, not a critic.
    • We naturally resist things we don’t understand and can’t control.
    • Rather than criticizing something you don’t understand, ask questions.
  2. Keep your eyes and mind wide open.
    • Closed-minded leaders close minds.
    • Listen to outsiders.
  3. Replace “how” with “wow.”
    • We fuel or shut down innovation with our responses to new, untried, expensive, unorthodox ideas.
    • “Wow” ideas to life, don’t “how” them to death.
  4. Ask uniquely better questions.
    • Before beginning, ask:
      • Is this unique?
      • What would make it unique?
      • Is it better...really?
    • If what you are trying is not clearly better and obviously unique, keep working on it.

Team Discussion Questions

  1. Andy offered a few questions that will help you assess your readiness to recognize and embrace uniquely better ideas. Respond to any/all of them.

    • What is your typical response to someone suggesting an idea they’ve learned from another organization or team?

    • When is the last time your team embraced a big idea that wasn’t your idea?

    • When is the last time you weren’t 100% sure of an idea but you tried it anyway?

  2. Is your team already good at any of the four habits Andy suggested? Is there one you can commit to working on?

  3. Is there anything your team has tried recently (or an idea you’ve resisted) that you now see in a different light after considering the principle of uniquely better?

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