Thinking Outside the Box – Then Being Locked Inside

You can get a great idea for something outside the box, and then find yourself locked inside it because other people simply cannot think outside their own expectations enough to understand that you provide something that is better than what they expect.

We developed a trade association. We wanted to operated it on totally new rules, with offerings in it that are completely unique. We found that as we set out to do that, the biggest obstacle we encountered was the expectation people had. They simply would not operate in a way outside the shabby and substandard way they’d expected such associations to operate online. You could explain, and it was like they did not even hear the words, because they filtered them through the fog of their own familiarity¬† and watered them so far down that they had no meaning by the time they were done.

We’ve found that with several businesses. If you are innovative, it doesn’t necessarily help, if other people are not. Sometimes the world may not be ready for your great idea, and you’ll have to conform to what they are ready for.

It can be very discouraging, because it limits progress for everybody when they require you to become like the others before they’ll accept what you offer, even when what you offer is markedly superior.

Sometimes you have to implement great ideas in stages instead of all at once. People cannot accept things that are too far from their realm of familiarity, and sometimes their expectations get in the way of your ability to exceed them.

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