Stop Trying To Win The Lottery

Lottery mindset does not work
Isn’t there a better strategy than the lottery? From aepoc’s Flickr photostream.

We may not be lottery ticket buyers at the local 7-11, however, it is such an enticing lure for those who lack any strategy. Playing with a lottery mindset in your work and business has a fundamental characteristic to it: You are hoping to get picked.

I guess the cattle call started in grade school when we picked teams for games. We waited for someone appointed as the captain, leader or authority to pick us. You might have been picked first, last or not at all. It certainly created hope and drama which bleeds over into how we play out our adult years.

The lottery mentality relies on us serving this instinct from our youth. We hope someone, whether defined or a faceless mass, will notice us and pick us among the many choices. This is how the commodity game is played. If you put yourself in a crowd with others, it sure does make it convenient for your boss, market and peers. But what does it do for you? You have been categorized and labeled for the benefit of someone else’s decision process. It’s a poor strategy as your uniqueness gets drowned out by the contrasts with those you share a list with.

Today, if you are not a brand, you are a commodity. The smarter web is relentless in polarizing the brands from the commodities.  The former tend to have smaller audiences with deep engagement. The latter are unnoticed and diluted in a game of “pick me.” You are in one of these games and I would dare say that playing the brand game is the only hope of avoiding irrelevance.

Here are a few tips to help you stop trying to win the lottery game:

  • Do fewer things, not many
  • If you are part of the crowd, remove yourself
  • Connect deeply with ten people that really get you
  • Make your audience raving fans around your content
  • Differentiate between people who will never buy and those that will evangelize for you
  • Don’t send out a thousand resumes blindly
  • Get off directories that don’t matter
  • Have something real to say
  • Help people practically, sincerely and substantively
  • Always be growing
  • Lead yourself
  • Then lead others

These are exciting times to start new things. Playing in an outdated game that only serves unwieldy audiences is a pure lottery. There’s luck and indiscriminate choosing. How about creating your own game and moving your commoditization into a true brand?

What can you do to stop trying to win the lottery in your business?

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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