08 Nov Win to the Winth Power – Creating Greater Success Through Innovation and Collaboration
“If the rate of change outside your institution is faster than the rate of change inside your institution, the end is in sight, the only question is: When?”
~Jack Welch, GE – Year 2000 Annual Report
Dear Christian Radio,
While Christian radio is not a traditional business, I believe Jack’s quote is still relevant to you even 18 years after he said it. The ways of doing business today are vastly different than they were even a few years ago, and seem to be ever changing on a daily basis. Couple that with the proverbial fight for your listeners’ attention and underwriters’ funding, and your ability to thrive is seriously challenged. Which is why I want to introduce you to Win to the Winth Power thinking and how it can change the way you think, act, and experience life and work.
But first, the fight!
Fighting for Attention
It’s true – it is a fight! We are so inundated with demands on our attention these days, it’s increasingly difficult for any one organization to grab and hold us for any length of time. A recent online search for current statistics revealed that we are bombarded daily with an average of 4,000 media messages; some sites claim it’s up to 10,000 messages. It depends on how “connected” you are and what kinds of media you attend to, but the demand is real and it’s impacting your ability to connect with your audience.
Call me a contrarian, but I think this fight actually may be a good thing for you because what you’re “selling” is perfect, timeless, profound, meaningful, and significant. All of which are things people are longing for, searching for, seeking… even if they don’t realize that’s what they are doing.
Once we’ve moved beyond our basic needs for food, clothing, shelter, and survival, we step into the realm of deeper psychological needs for certainty, variety, significance, growth, connection, and contribution. This is the place where we long for the deep, meaningful, significance in our lives… needs that truly can be met in only one way – through the Cross – and by only one person – Jesus.
Christian radio touches on each of those needs:
- You remind us of the certainty we are not alone: The Holy Spirit is with and within us.
- You remind us of the certainty of the outcome: Jesus wins and we win, too, if we’ve accepted Him as our savior.
- You offer a variety of voices and musical styles that allow listeners to connect, and a variety of ways for listeners to both connect and interact with the station.
- Yours is a significant message, often providing a very meaningful experience – transformation, even – for many listeners and their families, especially on dark days and times of crisis.
- You provide a way for your listeners to feel connected to something bigger than themselves; and truly, who doesn’t long for that deep sense of belonging?
- You invite listeners to participate in making a contribution, financially and otherwise, allowing them to actively take part in the mission of spreading the Gospel and bringing more people to the family and body of Christ.
I know this is not news to you, but sometimes we need reminding of why we are here and the importance of the work we are doing.
What’s at Stake
Committed to spreading the Gospel, providing support and encouragement, and building an army to do God’s work in the world, Christian radio is uniquely positioned to be a conduit, a pathway for this connection to begin, to grow, and to thrive. For you, it’s not about profit, competition, power, or any of the other common reasons people create business endeavors. It’s about following your calling and doing good in the world.
Nonetheless, that doesn’t make you immune to the challenges any business faces, which is why it’s all the more important you are wide awake, moving forward with intention, and embracing innovation and collaboration.
A Shift in Mindset is Required
Today, and into the future, we will be seeing more and more people building businesses that are creating a Win to the Winth Power shift in the world economy. It’s not just about me winning in my business anymore, because if I win and you don’t or you win and I don’t, then there won’t be a thriving economy around either of us to support our endeavors. No, today we need to be thinking this way: How do we create organizations where I win, you win, and in the bargain, as we collaborate and support each other, there is even greater benefit to a larger community – creating something that has ripple effects into the future and is bigger than either you or I could create alone?
There isn’t just one right answer to that question, nor does the shift happen by accident or chance. It is created purposefully and intentionally by wide-awake, Conscious Leaders®… people like you and me who are willing to step into the arena, take some chances, learn new things, and multiply ourselves and the power of our efforts by inviting others into the experience with us.
Taking Chances – Playing with Innovation
According to the dictionary, Innovation means to try a new method, idea, or project; a change, alteration, revolution, upheaval, transformation, metamorphosis, or breakthrough.
Although I’ve not been able to confirm it, this quote is attributed to Albert Einstein: “A problem cannot be solved with the same level of thinking that created it.”
In order to innovate – to create something new – we must think different thoughts. Thinking different thoughts requires that we do something new, put ourselves into new environments and situations, and gain a different perspective. Here’s what I suggest, to stimulate your creative juices, as they say:
- Play: Unstructured time for play is crucial to our ability to create. We must take the time to release expectations and boundaries and allow our imaginations to run wild. During play, our brains are able to connect previously unconnected ideas, thoughts, and concepts. We are able to make associations we wouldn’t normally make within the boundaries of “acceptable thinking and behavior.” We are able to see and recognize patterns that we would otherwise miss when we are focused on the work and the business at hand.
- If you don’t already make time for play, I encourage you to try it. Make it an important part of your day, a sacred part of your time, similar to setting aside time to pray.
- Start small. If the idea of making time to play makes you a little uncomfortable, start small… give yourself 15 minutes each day to do something fun, something silly, something with no predictable outcome, and set no expectation that it will result in anything that might be defined as productive or useful. Discover where the practice takes you.
- Add to it. Over time, give yourself more time and do it more often. In his book, Essentialism, author Greg McKeown shares a story about Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn. Weiner builds two hours of blank space into his schedule every day for thinking, doing nothing, and being playful. He’s found it allows him to be more focused, creative, and effective in his work.
- Have toys. You may think it’s silly to see toys on an adult’s desk, but it’s really not. Having something to keep your hands busy while your mind runs wild and free is extremely powerful, stress reducing, and stimulates creativity – required for innovation. Try a Koosh Ball, a Tangle, a doodle pad… whatever appeals to you.
- Steal something. I don’t mean to literally steal something, rather take something that already exists and modify it, personalize it, reimagine it, make it yours. In his book, Steal Like An Artist, author Austin Kleon explains that “nothing comes from nowhere… all creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.” To prove his point, he quotes the Bible: “There is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
- There are only 12 notes. If you are musically inclined (beyond your work in radio), you know there are only 12 musical notes. Yet, consider all the different variations, styles, and configurations of those 12 notes. Limitation drives creativity. Contemplate the resources you have available (and trust me – you have far more than you are actually aware of) and how you might arrange or rearrange them to be of benefit in some new way in alignment with your vision or mission.
- Give yourself permission. As adults – and adults running businesses / radio stations – it’s often difficult to justify doing any of the things I’ve just suggested. You’re doing serious work – God’s work – after all. This is serious stuff… with eternal consequences, no less! It’s true and I’m not making light of your work. I just know you have so much more inside you than you may give yourself credit for, and I want you to release your inner creative genius.
- In God’s Image. God is the ultimate creator, no doubt. And the Bible tells us we were created in His image. That means we are creative beings, as well. He made us this way for a purpose, so for us not to use the creativity He’s endowed us with is somewhat disrespectful, and seriously wasteful. The world needs you at your best, living into your giftedness to its fullest, and I believe that means stepping into creativity – in whatever way that is birthed through you – proactively and in a lively fashion!
- Just say, “Yes.” Repeat after me: I give myself permission to play, to be silly, to have unstructured time, to exercise my imagination, to be a creative being. (Repeat as many times as it takes you to actually try it.) Then, actually do it. Explore, experiment, try something new, share ideas, breathe life into a new endeavor… and do it with others.
Creating Together — Collaboration
We were built for community and we are better together. There is strength in numbers. We’ve heard all this before, and logically, rationally we know it. But we don’t always do it. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that because we are a leader in some official capacity, we are responsible for figuring things out on our own.
Today’s leaders know this isn’t true, and I believe you’re one of today’s leaders, so I trust you know you can’t do this alone. I suspect you have a team around you, and the number of people will depend on your market and the size of your budget. If you limit yourself to creating only with those people, you will severely limit your reach.
How to Collaborate:
Look outside. The number of potential collaborators is nearly endless if we will just open our eyes. Most of those people will not be directly associated with Christian radio, but there are countless people with ideas, skills, resources, expertise, and creativity from which you can benefit, regardless of their official work or affiliations. Spend some time considering who you know and who they know; the networks you can tap into are much greater than you might imagine.
Look outside, again. What can you learn from other industries that will help you move your mission forward? In his book, Practically Radical, author William Taylor tells a story of business partners mining for gold and coming up empty. They had all kinds of data that said the gold was there. They were very close, but still couldn’t find it.
One of the partners decided he needed a break, so he went to an IT conference. Not at all an IT person, he just wanted to immerse himself in a completely new environment and get away from the gold mining operation. While there, he learned about “open source coding,” where a developer would create a piece of software and put it out on the web for others to play with, modify, change, repurpose, and improve.
That’s exactly what he and his partner did with the mining data they had. They put it out on the web and invited others – total strangers across the globe – to play with it and see if they could figure out the next step for the mining operation; they even offered a prize. If I remember the story correctly, they ended up paying two prizes, as a couple of people connected, collaborated, and found the solution.
The point is this – there are people with whom you can create and collaborate who might not be the obvious ones you would seek out or intentionally work alongside. They may even run other Christian radio stations that may – on the surface – appear to be your competition. But remember, God used (and still does) the crack-pots, the loners, the outliers… and you might find incredible collaboration partners in unexpected places, as well.
Go deep with listeners and underwriters. You’re grateful to them and for them, to be sure, but when was the last time you invited your listeners or underwriters in for a meaningful conversation about what you’re striving to create in the world?
They’re connected to you and supporting your work for a reason. What is it? If you don’t know the answer, I encourage you to ask the question and listen carefully. I suspect there’s a wealth of information, ideas, creativity, commitment, and willingness to become a part of the effort in ways you’ve not even imagined.
It’s easy to imagine they would step forward and offer themselves and their ideas up to you proactively, but that’s not always the case. By not inviting them in, I guarantee that you are missing out on some great ideas, opportunities, and expertise that could help you move forward faster.
Shifting Win to the Winth Power into Action
We live in a world where we’ve been taught that there can be only one winner, and to win means to win at all costs, crushing the competition. I think it’s time for a new paradigm, one in which we can all win and in the process, create something bigger, more meaningful, and more beneficial for a community larger than those directly involved in the effort.
Stepping into this new paradigm will require you to step into the unknown, embrace uncertainty, experience some discomfort, be vulnerable, invite others into your realm, and ask a lot of open-ended questions about “what if…?”
- You have everything you need to be successful in your endeavor; it will require a mindset shift and actively thinking new thoughts.
- Innovation begins when you give yourself permission to play, explore, examine, and discover.
- Collaboration may result in ideas, initiatives, missions, and undertakings far greater than you might have imagined and the potential impact you can have on the world is exponentially more powerful than you’ve dreamed.
The key is engaging in the exercise. So, get started. Think bigger. Let your imagination run wild. And invite others into your process.
Laura Prisc – GUEST BLOGGER
Laura Prisc is a resourceful Senior Executive and Consultant with more than 25 years of success across the manufacturing, healthcare, education, banking, oil & gas, coaching, and meetings industries. Leveraging extensive experience providing coaching and inspiring new ways of thinking for leaders at a variety of organizations, she is a valuable asset for companies working on turnarounds, restructuring, culture change, crisis management, or change management around processes and communications. Her broad areas of expertise include corporate culture, leadership development, personal development, team building, employee engagement, meeting facilitation, change management, public relations, program management, and strategic planning.
Throughout her career, Ms. Prisc has held leadership positions at companies including Great Expectations THINK SPACE, Leadership & Life Potential LLC, Constellium Global Aerospace, Longview Fibre Paper and Packaging Inc., Tree Top Inc., Premera Blue Cross, and March of Dimes. As Founder/Curator of Great Expectations THINK SPACE since 2016, she leads creative meetings services where teams, organizations, or boards can hold off-site meetings, workshops, or retreats at a unique space in West Virginia designed to inspire creativity, innovation, and higher-level thinking. She is also Founder/Consultant for Leadership & Life Potential since 2012, providing coaching, teaching, and facilitation to organizations related to leadership, teamwork, personal development, strategic planning and change management. Clients have included Energy Corp. of America, Dow Chemical, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, PrimeLending, Kanawha County Schools, Upward Bound, and Northwestern Mutual. This follows three years as Leadership Development and Communication Manager with Constellium, where she improved the company culture by developing strategic communications and leading extensive training programs. She previously held Corporate Communications Manager positions with Longview Fibre and Tree Top. She earlier worked as a Communication Specialist with Energy Northwest, Premera Blue Cross, and Lourdes Health Network. She also spent a year as Division Director for March of Dimes in Central Washington.
Laura holds both a BS in Organizational and Mass Communication and an MS in Communication/Leadership from Eastern Washington University. She is a Certified Coach, Trainer, and Speaker with the John Maxwell Team and a Certified Gallup Strengths Coach.