How David Beats Goliath
Malcolm Gladwell, is well known for The Tipping Point among other books and articles. He is an amazing writer. He writes about business as it weaves through and pulses with real life, with real people. The lessons leap from the page when he writes.
The New Yorker magazine is not on my regular reading list, but when I do read it, I spend my time with Gladwell’s pieces. He recently wrote a piece entitled How David Beats Goliath and it is an awesome read.
He tells the story of Vivek Ranadiv?, a very successful entrepreneur, but that’s not focus of the tale. He explains how Ranadiv? coached his daughter’s basketball team to the nationals. The power in the story is that the girls were clearly the underdog in nearly every game. They regularly beat teams much better, much stronger than their own. How did they do it? Gladwell takes us on a great journey.
Here are three things that inspired some entrepreneurial thinking:
- Play all out, all the time. His daughter’s team played a full court press the entire game. Easy to say, much harder to perform, which is why even college and pro teams don’t do it. They proved that enthusiasm and energy trump ability. Gladwell cites a variety of sources that prove this out.
- Do not play by Goliath’s rules. Gladwell reminds us of the Biblical story of David versus Goliath and how the young shepherd beat the giant. Throughout the piece he explains how the David’s, the insurgents, the underdog upset the entrenched, the mainstream, the favorite. Points worth mentioning – David charged Goliath, which was unexpected. He did not cross swords with the giant, also expected. He didn’t wear the traditional garb. He thought about what made sense for the battle and took little more than his determination.
This is the second half of the insurgent’s creed. Insurgents work harder than Goliath. But their other advantage is that they will do what is ‘socially horrifying’.They will challenge the conventions about how battles are supposed to be fought,” writes Gladwell.
- Never get hemmed in by societal norms. People often joke: “That’s not how we do things around here…” You can still find a way to serve a customer need and not be boxed in by the way others do things.
As entrepreneurs and small biz owners, we may hear that in a hundred other forums, but let it not enter your brain, your psyche, your way of doing business, your way of serving your customer. You could say this the more common way – do not think inside the box.
TJ McCue is the strategic content guy at Q4 Sales and founder of Sales Rescue Team. He can be found at Twitter.