Don’t Always Start From Scratch

A friend listed me in the acknowledgement section of his devotional book.

I along with 5 others were credited with keeping him from “reinventing the wheel”.  He had spoken to all of us about our writing journey. My encouragement to him was to glean everything you can from others who have published before you. Take what works and fit it to your context. There was no need to start from scratch.

Years ago BASF, a chemical company, produced a commercial about their work. Their simple message was they don’t make the stuff that is important to you. They make the stuff that is important to you better. In a sense, BASF is in the business of shining and polishing wheels that have already been invented.

As leaders we don’t always have to come up with something innovative. There are times when the best thing that we can do is to improve on a previous idea or experience.

I saw this concept in action outside of a clothing store.

Near the door of the store two employees were selling handprinted Toms shoes.  The employees sat a cart loaded with brushes, paint, and a display rack featuring some of their creations. What they were selling was an enhancement to an already created product. The two employees did not invent Toms, paintbrushes, or paint. Instead of starting from scratch, they took what was already available and put it together in a different way. A small crowd fought for space to see what the artists had come up with.

In what area of your work might it be a good idea to improve on what’s available instead of starting from scratch?

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