Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Hotel Pillow Origami: Restoring Control Outside Your Comfort Zone

I'm currently in Rhode Island on business and just woke up after my first night in the hotel.

I had a pleasant night's sleep because I took the time to engage in "hotel pillow origami", where I used trial and error, and creativity, to rearrange the pillows into a formation that supported my head, neck, and back.

I'm sure that most experienced business travelers can identify: every hotel room has different beds and a unique assortment of pillows.  Not taking control and finding the right pillow foundation can literally be a pain in the neck.

Taking control in this way shouldn't just be limited to travel and hotel beds.  In business, our careers, and our lives, there are many times we end up outside our comfort zones. In fact, we should want this to happen, because that is where growth and advancement happen.

But, there is no rule that says we have to endure maximum discomfort in these situations.  In fact, I'd argue that the ultimate personal growth happens when we rise to the challenge of uncomfortable change and adapt it to us, rather than just passively accept  new situations.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Reimagining A Commodity

You're a Wisconsin dairy at a time when milk, a commodity, is at historically low prices.  Many mom and pop farmers are struggling.

What do you do?

If you are 1871 Dairy, you copy the microbrewery trend, and become a micro dairy. They first started by providing fresh, organic, grass-fed milk to high-end Chicago restaurants.

Now, they are opening a micro dairy, where they will build a small milk processing plant in downtown Chicago, far away from the actual Wisconsin farms.

They will offer small-batch, exotic flavored milks, creams, yogurts, etc. such as adding blackberry-basil or banana-almond butter to fresh milk.

In this way, they have added value, and elevated milk from a commodity to a unique, premium  product for which they can charge more.

Are there creative twists that you can add to pain-vanilla portions of your business, to create awesome value for your customers, which will inspire and delight them?