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First, break all the rules
Do you like my new lippy? Also, here’s a few things to do to be unconventional, extreme, innovative and … damn successful, just like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs and Rihanna
Got my new lippy on and I’m ready for a productive day. Creative space and a good book to read and I’m ready to break ALL the rules!
It’s a great book. Have you read it?
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"First, Break All the Rules" is a management book written by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman. It emphasizes the idea that great managers don't follow conventional wisdom; instead, they focus on identifying and leveraging the strengths of their employees. The book is based on a large-scale research project conducted by the Gallup organization, which studied thousands of managers and employees to distill effective management practices. It provides insights into how to create a positive work environment, engage employees, and maximize their potential for better performance and job satisfaction.
You can get your copy here if you like.
But more importantly, why am I bringing this up?
Breaking the rules can be crucial for leaders in startups and corporations to succeed for several reasons:
1. **Innovation:** Rules often reflect existing norms and practices. By breaking them, leaders can encourage creative thinking and innovation, which are essential for staying ahead in rapidly changing markets.
2. **Adaptability:** Industries and markets are dynamic, and rigidly adhering to rules might hinder the ability to adapt to new challenges and opportunities. Breaking certain rules allows for agility and quick adjustments.
3. **Differentiation:** Conventional rules can lead to homogenization. Breaking them can help a company stand out by offering unique products, services, or approaches that set them apart from competitors.
4. **Problem Solving:** Some challenges don't have ready-made solutions within the rulebook. Breaking the rules can lead to unconventional solutions that address complex problems effectively.
5. **Employee Empowerment:** Allowing employees to break rules within certain boundaries can empower them to take ownership of their work, fostering a culture of initiative and creativity.
6. **Customer-Centric Approach:** Customers' needs and preferences change over time. Breaking rules might enable leaders to adapt products and services to better meet those changing demands.
7. **Risk Management:** Controlled rule-breaking allows leaders to take calculated risks, which can be essential for growth and expansion. Learning to manage risks can lead to more informed decision-making.
8. **Flexibility:** Rules can sometimes hinder a leader's ability to make timely decisions. Breaking certain rules provides flexibility, which can be crucial for seizing emerging opportunities.
9. **Disruption:** Many successful startups and innovative companies have disrupted established industries precisely by breaking the rules that incumbents adhered to rigidly.
10. **Cultural Reinforcement:** In startups, early rule-breaking can help establish a culture of thinking outside the box, which can become ingrained as the company grows.
However, it's important to note that not all rules should be broken; some rules exist for valid reasons like ethics, legality, or safety. Successful leaders must have a nuanced understanding of which rules to challenge strategically to achieve their entrepreneurial goals.
One notable example of an entrepreneur who broke the rules to achieve incredible business success is Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc.
Steve Jobs was known for his willingness to challenge norms and break established rules within the tech industry. Some key ways he did this include:
1. **Simplicity in Design:** At a time when computers were complex and intimidating machines, Jobs broke the rule that technology had to be complicated. He focused on creating products with clean, minimalist designs and user-friendly interfaces, making technology more accessible and appealing to a broader audience.
2. **Closed Ecosystem:** Jobs challenged the conventional approach of open systems by creating a closed ecosystem with Apple products. This meant controlling both the hardware and software, which allowed for a more streamlined user experience and better integration between devices.
3. **Eliminating Floppy Drives:** When Apple released the iMac in 1998 without a floppy disk drive, it was a significant departure from industry standards. Many criticized this move, but Jobs saw the declining relevance of floppy disks and pushed for a more forward-thinking approach to data storage.
4. **Combining Technology and Arts:** Jobs integrated design and aesthetics into technology products, breaking the rule that tech devices were purely utilitarian. This approach not only made Apple products visually appealing but also set a new standard for the importance of design in tech.
5. **Retail Stores:** The idea of a tech company opening its own retail stores seemed counterintuitive, as most tech products were sold through third-party retailers. However, Jobs opened Apple Stores to provide customers with a unique, immersive experience and direct access to the brand.
6. **Mobile Devices:** Jobs completely revolutionized the mobile phone industry with the iPhone. He broke the rule that phones were primarily for calls, by introducing a device that combined a phone, an iPod, and an internet communicator, setting the stage for the smartphone era.
Jobs' rule-breaking mindset, combined with his vision and attention to detail, led Apple to become one of the most valuable and innovative companies in the world. His ability to challenge norms and create products that changed the way we live, work, and communicate is a prime example of how breaking the rules can lead to incredible business success.
Elon Musk is a prime example of an entrepreneur who has broken the rules in a way that resonates, even to those he absolutely turns off. His public persona breaks all the rules in so many ways… Is that a bad thing? Let’s see… . He's the founder and CEO of multiple companies, including Tesla and SpaceX, and his innovative approaches have captured the attention of a younger generation even with his existing technologies. Here are a few ways Musk has broken the rules:
1. **Electric Cars:** Musk challenged the conventional wisdom that electric cars were only for niche markets. He founded Tesla with the goal of making electric vehicles mainstream by focusing on design, performance, and sustainability. Tesla's success has reshaped the automotive industry and sparked broader interest in sustainable transportation.
2. **Space Exploration:** Musk's company SpaceX disrupted the space industry by introducing reusable rockets. Traditional rockets were discarded after a single use, driving up costs. Musk's approach of landing and reusing rockets has drastically reduced the expense of space travel and paved the way for ambitious plans like colonizing Mars.
3. **Online Payments:** Before founding PayPal, online payment systems were often complex and unwieldy. Musk co-founded X.com, which eventually became PayPal, offering a simpler and more user-friendly way to make online payments, revolutionizing e-commerce transactions.
4. **Solar Energy:** Through Tesla's acquisition of SolarCity, Musk combined electric cars and solar energy to create an integrated sustainable energy ecosystem. This breaks the rule of separating energy sources and paves the way for a more eco-friendly future.
5. **Hyperloop Concept:** Musk proposed the Hyperloop, a high-speed transportation system that uses pods in a low-pressure tube to travel at incredible speeds. This futuristic concept challenges traditional notions of transportation and could revolutionize long-distance travel.
6. **Social Media Interaction:** Musk actively engages with the public through social media, sharing updates about his companies, responding to customers, and even making important business announcements. This direct communication challenges the traditional corporate communication model. He just re-branded Twitter against all common sense: let’s see if this unconventional approach brings a big gain- jury still out in that one!
Musk's rule-breaking ventures have not only disrupted industries but have also aligned with the values and aspirations of millennials, who often prioritize sustainability, innovation, and the desire to make a positive impact on the world.
In the world of music, one artist entrepreneur who has broken the rules for success is Rihanna. While primarily known as a singer, she has also ventured into various other industries and redefined the traditional approach to building a personal brand. Here's how she's broken the rules:
1. **Diverse Business Ventures:** Rihanna established herself as a musician but then diversified her brand by launching successful ventures like Fenty Beauty, a cosmetics line known for its inclusivity and wide range of shades. She also introduced Savage X Fenty, a lingerie brand that celebrates body positivity and diverse beauty standards.
2. **Inclusivity and Representation:** Fenty Beauty challenged the beauty industry's standards by offering a wide range of foundation shades to cater to all skin tones. This inclusivity not only resonated with consumers but also put pressure on other beauty brands to expand their shade offerings.
3. **Direct-to-Consumer Approach:** Fenty Beauty and Savage X Fenty adopted a direct-to-consumer approach, bypassing traditional retail channels and connecting with customers through digital platforms. This allowed for a more personalized and direct relationship with her audience.
4. **Influence on Fashion:** Rihanna has disrupted the fashion world by collaborating with luxury brands like Dior and Puma, as well as launching her own luxury fashion line, Fenty. Her designs challenge conventional notions of style and embrace boldness and individuality.
5. **Cultural Impact:** Rihanna's brand is often associated with empowerment, diversity, and challenging societal norms. She uses her platform to address social and political issues, resonating with consumers who seek brands that stand for more than just products.
6. **Music Release Strategy:** In the music industry, Rihanna has broken the traditional album release cycle. Instead of consistently releasing albums, she has strategically focused on her other ventures while keeping fans engaged through singles and collaborations, creating anticipation for her next musical project.
7. **Entrepreneurial Mindset:** Rihanna's ability to switch between her roles as a musician, designer, and entrepreneur showcases her versatility and adaptability. This approach defies the traditional idea of sticking to one career path.
Rihanna's success as an artist entrepreneur lies in her ability to challenge norms, embrace innovation, and create brands that resonate with a diverse and global audience. Her impact extends beyond the industries she's entered, inspiring a new generation of creators and entrepreneurs to break the rules and redefine success on their terms.
So there it is. Are you a rule breaker or a rule taker?
Where to next for you? Learn about achieving your goals in 6 weeks or less, with possibly some unconventional rule breaking, he he.
theCrea8ve is a reader-supported platform, dedicated to cultivating a culture of passion-driven leadership, action, and contribution, empowering individuals to lead fulfilling lives and careers infused with purpose and creativity. Consider becoming a free or paid subscriber. As a paid subscriber, you gain access to the blog vault (beyond the last 3 weeks), free workshops, community and … well,… more of me! You can also comment on this post. Xo, Gilli