Stretch + Investigate + Expand = Good Business

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Stage lightshow with spotlights.
As I’m writing this, I’m listening to the 60s channel on SiriusXM. It’s a channel I listen to a lot. That particular era is kind of my musical “home base.” It’s the music I tend to gravitate to — it’s my default. (I’ve heard it said that the music we tend to gravitate to is the music we were listening to between ages 16 and 24. That makes a lot of sense, except for me that would be 1973-1981 — and I hate disco.) Now, do I listen to anything else? Absolutely! I have an extensive collection of blues, jazz, and classical. I love 90s music (possibly because so much of it was made by my friends in Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam). But 60s is home base.

I’m guessing you have a musical home base as well. I’d be curious to know what that would be for you. If you’re so inclined, let me know in a comment.

You know what? I think it’s great to have a musical home base. But I also think it’s nice to stretch out, investigate new music, and expand our musical boundaries. Stretch, investigate, expand. Good words for music.

Essential words for business.

See, just like we all have a home base for music, we also have a home base for business. Call it what you will — “my comfort zone,” “my leadership style” — it’s the place we tend to gravitate to (retreat to?) when things get dicey. It’s natural, when things change, to want to go back to where we feel secure. “The monsters may be out there, but at least I’ve still got my blanket.” Changing times, however, require changing strategies. When things get dicey is when we most need to stretch, investigate, and expand.

Now, does that mean that we should change everything? Of course not. If you’ve got a particularly strong set of morals, values, and ethics, you may want to hold on to them. (On the other hand, if your morals, values, and ethics lean more toward, say, Tony Soprano, you might want to think about an upgrade.) And I’m a strong believer in the basics — whatever those may be in your business or industry. As a motivational speaker, some of my basics include: have a strong, relevant message; deliver that message in an amazing way on the stage; and be easy to work with (no prima donnas!). Those are my basics, and they won’t change. What are yours?

Your morals, values, and ethics, combined with a firm knowledge and mastery of the basics, form your foundation. But it’s what you build with that foundation that will change over time. That’s where you stretch, investigate, and expand.

So enjoy your home base. Embrace it. It’s a good reminder of where you come from, and where you’ve been. But get out of the house every now and then. Explore new neighborhoods. Listen to new music. And expand your business.


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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  • LOVE this post Bill. So much value in it. And I’m taking this opportunity to step back and get in touch with my basics again. As far as music I love most – musicals. I can jam out to Defying Gravity from Wicked, the music from Mamma Mia, the music from Les Mis, you name the musical and chances are good I’m singing it in my car. I’m also a sucker for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Box CD set “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”. THe storyteller in me loves country and bluegrass. Nobody can tell a story like country music – at least that I can understand.

  • Bill Stainton says:

    Thanks Kelly! I have to admit, I’ve never been the biggest country and bluegrass fan (even though the Dillards are cousins of mine). Perhaps I need to stretch, investigate, and expand! By the way, for the rest of you — Kelly is one speaker who DEFINITELY delivers her message in an amazing way on the stage!

  • Linda Larsen says:

    Excellent post, Bill. And yes, my Pandora is set to my default music and just like you, the 60’s win out time and again. LOVE Motown. LOVE the Beatles. But my former husband (I met at age 16) was a jazz musician and introduced me to Dave Brubeck, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and so many more – and I was hooked. AND as a musical theater performer for many years – well…do I even need to start rattling off all the brilliant music in that genre? So I never actually THOUGHT about stretching and expanding my musical tastes since they seem so diverse – but now you have me thinking. I have told myself that I can’t love gangsta rap or twangy country but hey – maybe I can and I just don’t know it! Thanks for jiggling my brain (the other parts of me are already jiggling and don’t need your assistance, tyvm.

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