I recently read a great book for marketing, innovation, and business development entitled, “Free Prize Inside” by Seth Godin. The book is chock full of great ideas and items for pondering what we’re doing and how we can do it better by adding value in the form of a “free prize.” One concept in the book that struck me is what Seth described as the “Fulcrum of innovation.” This concept hinges, no pun intended, on a critical analysis of an idea whether it is doable and if so doable by you.
I though back to Mr. Preston’s eighth-grade science class where we learned about levers and fulcrums. I started thinking about how a lever works and what’s known as the mechanical advantage. What’s the best way to increase “leverage”? It’s to make the working side or the side exerting the mechanical force longer. Think about a crow or prybar. How does this tool allow us to remove driven nails from 2×4’s with relatively minimal effort? The bigger the ratio of the mechanical end to the load bearing end the less force one will have to exert to do the heavy lifting. In this case the mechanical end accounts for about 95% of the tool!
So, I decided to expand upon Seth’s example of the “Fulcrum of Innovation” to visualize ways that we can increase our leverage and make the lifting or selling of the idea easier. In “Free Prize Inside,” Seth expresses the importance of any idea having the right champion. Whether that person is you or someone else is critical to the selling success of the innovation. If you are planning on selling the idea you better be the right champion.
Second, to increase your leverage, you need to have a good reputation so that people will take you seriously when they hear the idea instead of sighing, rolling their eyes.
Third, developed communication skills are vital because if you’re not speaking their language, they’re not going to buy in. Ways to develop communication skills include but are not limited to reading a book about presentations, going your local Toastmasters chapter, taking a class, and last but certainly not least practice, practice, practice.
What Ways are You Working on to Increase Your Leverage in Selling Ideas?
Also, if the mechanical end of the lever being longer increases leverage, the inverse must be true as well. Be sure to check out “Free Prize Inside” for ways to make the load bearing end of the lever smaller. In other words how can you tighten up and improve your idea so elevating it to it fullest potential can be done with the most efficient use of force. The relationship between the ends will be, as mentioned, inverse. Whereas between the load bearing end and the mechanical end improvements will make each side smaller and longer respectively.
Archimedes, widely considered to be the father of modern ideas about levers and fulcrums once stated, “Give me a place to stand, and I shall move the earth.“ Where will you stand and what will you move?
Many thanks to Seth Godin, for getting these wheels turning on this idea and for all his contributions to our collective thought processes.