Why being the best doesn’t matter anymore

Updated on 3 November 2014

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Why being the best doesn't matter anymoreIt’s not about doing something new, it’s about how to stop doing something old. This powerful statement is from Richard Mulholland’s new book titled Legacide. In it, Mulholland redefines the old-fashioned definition of the word ‘innovation’.
Mulholland, 40, is the founder of SA’s largest presentation firm, Missing Link. He is also a professional motivational speaker, speaking at some of South Africa’s top corporations. He is also a guest lecturer at The Cape Graduate School of Business and the Gordon Institute of Business Science.

‘Be afraid of old ideas’

Legacide is the term Mulholland uses to describe ideas and ways of doing things that we don’t question, and that are ultimately slowing us down, and holding us back.
“It’s not about changing your product, but your mindset,” he writes. According to the author, entrepreneurs often miss the bigger picture in the quest for the new.

The best vs. your favourite

In the chapter entitled ‘The Fallacy of the Best’, Mullholland explores the reasons why striving to be the best is bad for your business.
“We have an unhealthy obsession with the concept of the best,” he writes. According to Mulholland wanting to be the best is not only hard to achieve, but also difficult to measure.
“The best is tricky and always open to debate, no one can argue about who you believe your favourite is,” he says.
Best is intellectual, while favourite is emotional, Mulholland says. Humans are emotional creatures, who make purchasing decisions based on what feels right as opposed to what is right, he adds.

Here are Mulholland’s 3 steps to escape the fallacy of ‘the best’:

  1. Look at your business and identify what you’ve been trying to be the best at. 
    For example, if you have a restaurant, ask yourself are you trying to the busiest restaurant in your area, or trying to sell the most burgers. What is it that you are working at being the best in?
  2. Ask yourself if you’ve managed to become the best, and more importantly, can you prove it?
    To prove you are the best you would have to keep track of every single restaurant in your area. The comparison is an impossible one to make, and most importantly, a waste of productivity.
  3. Lastly, rather ask yourself in which areas are you most loved in, then redefine your business’ strategy to align with that area.
    If your restaurant is most known for your gourmet burgers, focus on that area as that’s where your customer loyalty and brand awareness will come from.

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