Beware of “Me Too”

April 23, 2015
For those who saw it, the 2013 biopic film Jobs was a relatable depiction of a series of career moves that served to encapsulate what became the Apple brand. Though he wasn’t always portrayed as a hero in the film, I was struck by several of Steve Jobs’ real-life quotes that made cameos in the film. I actually caught chills when I heard, “I would rather gamble on our vision than make a ‘me, too’ product.” In the workplace, it can be so easy to manage a “me too” project, write a “me too” report, or plan a “me, too” travel program. I didn’t get into the planning profession to put people on a plane, point toward the beach, order a meal, and call it a day. My colleagues and I invent innovative cures for the common incentive program. Rather than simply hosting a teambuilding activity, we are facilitating beach Olympics, wherein participants are challenged physically and mentally; rather than telling event guests to have dinner at their leisure, we orchestrate meal reservations for hundreds at select restaurants, allowing them access to the most exclusive meal venues and dining times; rather than running a tour, we craft our experience, such as progressive meals, where small plates or handheld edibles are served in each point in the excursion.  With tactics like these and new ones all the time, we are looking to terminate “same old, same old.” This directive doesn’t apply only to professionals in the incentive and travel realm—this message is essential for all professionals. Innovation is an important crossroad on the path to industry leadership and personal satisfaction.  Will you take the known route, or create a new path from A to B? We are all continually growing and evolving our methods in order to accommodate elevated expectations and attention spans that are exceedingly more challenged by technology. Delivering information is sufficient. But personally, I want nothing to do with "sufficient." Instead, let’s consider how we can change the game. How can we deliver a program while sparking engagement, inspiring discussion, and creating a memorable experience?  Creativity shouldn’t stop when you finish building the program agenda—keep going!  Dig deep to find creative ways to save budget, incorporate important values, and otherwise magnify company culture. Being innovative is crucial in flexing your professional muscles and acts in your organization’s best interest, as it draws employees to keep reaching - even exceeding - personal and team goals in order to see what is at the other end of their tireless efforts. After all, hard work is contagious. So the next time you are back at the drawing board, planning for your next big project: gamble. Take a risk. Don’t say, “me too.” Originally published on LinkedIn

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