David is a best-selling author, speaker and trainer. He is also CEO of IPD, a world-class marketing agency based in Tampa, Florida.
In his book Think Again, Adam Grant writes: “The problem is that we live in a rapidly changing world, where we need to spend as much time rethinking as we do thinking.”
It takes a wise person to be able to acknowledge areas that they need further education in. It takes a determined person to put forth the efforts required to educate themselves in these areas, and it takes a humble person to change or unlearn the beliefs that they hold when faced with the fact that they are incorrect.
This is a hard pill to swallow, but it is also necessary if you want to grow. Changing your pre-existing beliefs takes real work. It requires you to look inward at times, and it demands that you properly educate yourself on topics that you may or may not have had any experience in. Change in any form is difficult.
I have had to unlearn many habits, beliefs and opinions within my lifetime, and I attribute the success that I’ve experienced to an ability to not just learn but to unlearn. It hasn’t been easy. Luckily, I have a solid team around me to help me along this journey. I started my marketing company back in 1995 with my wife, making sales calls out of the bedroom of our apartment.
Since then, we as a country have seen massive change: The internet boom that took nearly every business online. The 2008 recession, which hit the automotive industry that I serve particularly hard. The introduction and rise of social media marketing, which has steadily taken the place that TV, radio and newspaper ads once held. And the pandemic, which effectively put thousands of companies within hundreds of industries on halt.
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Each one of these instances has led to changes in the world. They have changed the way we do business. They have changed the way our day-to-day lives look. They have changed how we view the world.
Marketing itself is an ever-changing aspect of business. The tools we use change constantly, and the platforms are continuously growing and evolving. Ad spaces within popular magazines used to be prime real estate for marketers. Now, they take a backseat to digital advertising. No one would have dreamed of using sites like Facebook and Instagram to market their businesses 10 or 15 years ago. Yet, here we are.
What I have found in my life is that there are two key reasons why someone will change:
• They are forced to by some outside circumstance.
• They see an upside in doing so.
Unfortunately, history and battlefields are littered with the results of the former.
The power of the changing mindset is strong enough to alter your life. To be able to stand up and say “I won’t do it this way anymore” can be the difference between success and failure. We have to stop waiting to be forced into change, because often by then it’s too late. We have to see the upside in changing with the times and not resisting these changes, regardless of how uncomfortable they may be.
The ability to think is crucial, but so is the ability to rethink. Innovation breeds efficiency, but before there can be innovation there must be the acknowledgment that whatever we are doing right now isn’t the best way.
One of the most important figures within my own respective industry would be Henry Ford, who saw the disconnect between the building and selling of cars. He recognized the issue of building vehicles and attempting to sell them at a cost that most families would never be able to afford. Instead of continuing to do it the same way, Ford had the assembly line developed. With the assembly line, Ford was able to manufacture vehicles in a fraction of the time it took before. Less time meant lower cost, and a lower cost meant that more consumers could afford Ford’s vehicles. Innovation bred efficiency.
Henry Ford could very well have decided to keep producing cars without the assembly line. He could have followed what other manufacturers were doing at the time, and perhaps have even been successful. It was his willingness to rethink how he was running his operation, however, that changed not only his organization but the world as we know it. It starts on a small scale, and then it grows.
For myself, a lot of my rethinking has been in regards to my own skill as a leader and a salesperson. I’ve had to rethink my methods of training, my leadership style and my approach to sales multiple times within my life. The way I do things today is not at all like how I did them when I was just getting into sales.
Growing as a person, a business owner, a trainer, a salesperson, and a marketer takes effort. In order to improve yourself, you have to challenge your own opinions. It will be difficult, but you’ll be glad that you did it.
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Author: David Villa, Forbes Councils Member