I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure that I’ve had few if any, visionary moments. In fact, were you to ask former teammates of mine, they might say I have a tendency to play a bit of the devil’s advocate in some cases.
And I wonder, is that holding me back? Honestly, in the past it has. But maybe the more important question is, am I holding others back?
Recently, at a conference, I was arguing talent communities with a room full of people and someone kept insisting that I show clear and historical talent communities. Whenever I gave an example, I was met with:
“No, that’s a regular community. Show me one with a company at its center.”
Which I proceeded to do, only to be told, that too, was going to fail. Because of my work with BraveNewTalent, I knew that this wasn’t true, so finally I simply said:
“Just because you’ve never seen it done, doesn’t mean it can’t be.”
Not sure if you know it or not, but those are kind of scary words to utter. Particularly when it comes to talent communities, because every one is SO focused on how consumer communities and user groups work, they’re trying really hard to draw those parallels. It’s like the thinking gets clouded when they find a piece that doesn’t fit the puzzle they’re used to.
But the opposite happens as well, as you will see in this Psychology Today article:
What happened in this experiment is what happens in real life; despite ambiguous stimuli, people form some sort of tentative hypothesis about what they see. The longer they are exposed to this blurred image, the greater confidence they develop in this initial and perhaps erroneous impression, so the greater the impact this initial hypothesis has on subsequent perceptions.
I’ve been guilty of that as well as a marketer. Honestly, it continues to be a struggle; this trying to keep my mind open to new ideas and possibilities in a field that some would say is changing too fast and others might feel needs to grow up and the other side, focusing really hard on a new concept, so hard that I begin to believe it already exists.