Unusual Is Now the Usual

by Jay Deragon on 09/15/2011

The pace of change is no longer as usual and instead has become unusually hectic. These unusual changes are becoming common and everything usual is at risk. Everything from old business models, cultures, consumer behavior, market dynamics and economic influences. Business as usual is out and business as unusual is in.

What Is Unusual?

Unusual means doing things differently than you have in the past. Doing things differently in the sense of what, who, when, where and why you do certain things. Social technology is fueling change and the primary change required to do the unusual begins with how we think and what we believe.

An article in The New York Times states: Like newspapers, portals like AOL and Yahoo are confronting the cold fact that there is less general interest in general interest news. Readers have peeled off into verticals of information — TMZ for gossip, Politico for politics and Deadspin for sports, and so on.

Part of the problem is the result of a fundamental shift in Web behavior. Media stalwarts erected a frame around the Web and organized, and sometimes produced, content. Now the frame around content is the Web browser itself, and consumers do their own programming and are more inclined to see news consumption as a kind of voting, selecting smaller brands that reflect their sensibilities.

Whether personal or professional thinking about making progress in the coming year means we need to put past, present and future changes into context that relate to our own plans. Today the context is about communications and relationships both which are critical elements to making any progress personally or professionally.

Unusual Communications and Relationships?

What is unusual is that communications and relationships have dramatically shifted away from the usual. Much of the wisdom about relationships and communications is old. Our culture and markets have rejected age-old wisdom choosing instead to discount relations and propagate meaningless communications for manipulating markets, transactions.

Markets are moving because the market behavior has changed. Change can be good if you know what is changing and choose to adopt, adjust and use it to make progress towards what is now unusual.

Unusual is Considered Radical

Hayagreeva Rao, from Mckinsey Quarterly writes: “Activists who challenge the status quo play a critical but often overlooked role in both promoting and impeding radical business innovation. Their importance stems from the very nature of innovation, which often challenges existing interests, norms, values, social practices, and relationships. As a result, the joined hands of market rebels—activists and their recruits—have with surprising frequency exerted significant influence on market acceptance of breakthrough products and services.”

Technology is Fueling Radical Change in Beliefs.

To understand radical changes you have to think like a radical. Radical thinking means letting go of the status quo which means often challenging existing interests, norms, values, social practices, and relationships. The reason why you must think this way is because the crowds are rejecting old beliefs which have created the status quo. The crowd has gone radical which you may believe to be unusual. What you believe is unusual is now the usual expectation of the crowds.

To not understand what the crowd believes means you will not likely be able to “connect” with the crowd. Without a “connection” there is little possibility for any kind of relationship or transaction.

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