Monday, August 13, 2012

Connecting with a generation in a state of constant change

How do you create organizations, environments, and resources for a generation that is in a state of constant change? As a pastor that is what I do. I help lead an organization, create environments, and shape resources that help people discover and grow in Christ. What is tempting for me is to lead and create in a way that impacts the largest mass of people. The goal is to reach people. Seth Godin's book We are all Weird addresses the tension between marketing and creating for the mass verses trying to stand out by being often going against the grain of mass appeal. There is a tention to manage in this idea but Seth offers some great insight into the process of being OK with being a weird. The generation we are striving to reach is changing. Seth proposes that how we connect with them might need to change also because this people now embrace "weird" and many times push it forward. Here are my favorite quotes from the book. I have linked to the Kindle version on Amazon so go check it out!
  • From now on, mass market success will be the exception, the black swan. Mass is dead. Here comes weird.
  • The epic battle of our generation is between the status quo of mass and the never-ceasing tide of weird.
  • We shun the outliers, train students to conform and reward companies that create historically efficient mass market products.
  • The key element of being weird is this: you insist on making a choice.
  • Standing out takes time, money, and confidence. More of us have all three now.
  • Art at the edges is no longer an oddity, it’s the norm.
  • When we give people choice, we make them richer.
  • When an artist (not just a painter, but anyone creating new ideas and new work) is able to have his work amplified, it changes him and also raises the bar for those that would follow.
  • When you don’t feel alone, it’s easier to be weird, which sort of flies in the face of our expectation that the weird individual is also a loner. Social acceptance of weird behavior makes being weird more popular. 
  • The reason that people are walking away from mass is not so that they can buy more stuff. Material goods and commerce are not the goal, they are merely a consequence. The goal is connection.
  • We’ve been trained since birth to enforce the status quo. Our bias is to the many. To please the many. To sell to the many. To be organized to serve the many.
  • If you persist in trying to be all things to all people, you will fail. The only alternative, then, is to be something important to a few people.
  • The key lesson: humanity and connection are trumping the desire for corporate scale.

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