Specialty Food Magazine

JUL-AUG 2013

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/139333

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Page 118 of 217

the educated retailers' guide 9. Quit Worrying People who lack confdence, who are more afraid of making mistakes than they are of missing out on opportunity, are less likely to make exceptional, innovative leaps. ers, especially in business. This isn't just about being stubborn—if you dare to do it, thinking differently and doing what others aren't doing will open doors, markets, minds and wallets. It's hard to create meaningful, mind-engaging work when all you're doing is what everyone else is already doing. Taking the drive to be different a bit further (or deeper), I want to encourage you, me and anyone else we care about to let our minds take regular little walks on the wild side. We all should acknowledge and honor those seemingly out-there, impossible-toimplement ideas most of us self-regulate on. If we as leaders don't let our crazy ideas run free in our own minds, it's highly unlikely our organizations are going to do so either. Constricted thinking at the top creates a constricted organizational culture. 7. Be—or Just Act—Confident To push for creative activity and initiate what will later be seen as a super-innovative idea, we usually have to have high selfconfidence or be willing to ignore what most everyone around us says when we start to share our idea. Which means creative people will often feel like they're crazy. Holding to one's course in the face of adversity and opposition is hard to do. It can be downright counterintuitive. Often, the better the idea, the higher the level of resistance will be. People who lack confidence, who are more afraid of making mistakes than they are of missing out on opportunities, are less likely to make exceptional, innovative leaps. People who tell themselves they are not creative are en route to selffulfilling these perceived limitations. 102 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE Helping to build our own self-esteem to get to a level at which we can hold true to what we believe in in the face of opposition isn't easy to do. Almost all the outside indicators may be telling you you're crazy, but in your heart you still feel strongly that you're on to something special. I can't tell you how to know when it's time to hold to your gut, to honor your intuition, when everyone else is wagging their fingers and telling you you're wrong. All I know is I'd rather go after what I believe in and fail than believe I failed my own beliefs. 8. Consider Problem Swaps In the early years of the Deli's development, I remember being perpetually frustrated with how much each department manager seemed to know just what their compatriots ought to be doing to improve, yet at the same time seemed unable to address the issues in the area they were actually in charge of. I remember threatening I was going to shift them all one department over and see how it went. Since they knew what each other was doing wrong, we'd have our issues resolved in no time! Turns out my slightly sarcastic solution was more appropriate than I imagined. New people looking at an old problem will more frequently find a creative solution than those of us who are around the issue all day. The risk of asking is low, and the reward of engaging can be high. If they come up with some quick, easy-toimplement solution, it's basically like hitting the jackpot at a creativity card game. For very little investment, we might reap big rewards. specialtyfood.com When it comes to increasing creativity and building a more constructive organization, worrying never works. I'm not talking about constructive concern and the appropriate planning and prep work that come from it. I'm talking about over-worrying. Worrying about what we might have done wrong; and conversely, worrying about what might likely go wrong in the future. Concern tied to appropriate corrective action can be very constructive. But worrying linked only to inaction generally leads to nothing but more inaction and more worrying. And if we let the worrying get too bad, we end up making dumb decisions because we can't stand the stress of the worrying any longer. Coming from a family of worriers, I've worked hard to change the way I think in this regard. I manage my worry as I would a difficult customer who comes in three or four times a week. I handle my worries gently. I can let them be as they are, but not let them take me off my game or delude me into doing something that would cause significant harm to the business or myself. If and when the worry starts, I am now able to take a deep breath and work my way out of it fairly quickly with a little journaling, a long run, or a quick call to a good friend. While I can't say I've completely eliminated it from my existence, I no longer worry about it. As you can see from this list, there is a lot we can do to significantly increase the odds of starting and sustaining a fun, insightful creative business. Even more than that, there is much we can do to weave creativity effectively into our daily lives. And remember, change begins with one person. You don't have to wait for your entire organization to get on board—just begin to make the changes in yourself and watch for the results. Ari Weinzweig is co-owner of Zingerman's Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, Mich., and author of Zingerman's Guide to Good Leading, Part 2: A Lapsed Anarchist's Approach to Being a Better Leader

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