For those of you interested in sport I am going to talk about how we can draw inspiration in terms of thinking differently with a couple of current examples over the next couple of blogs.

First the Tour De France an epic three week race across the countryside and mountains of France is in full swing.  The leading riders compete for the Yellow Jersey worn by the man that takes the least time to complete the race.

Chris Froome has won this race before and as I write this he leads again.  This lead has been created by thinking differently.  Twice in the past 4 days he has surprised his opposition by not doing what they expected.

First at the end of a tough climb just before the finish of a stage and as his close competitors relaxed given he had not as he usually does pushed them hard on the climb and broken away and safe in the knowledge they would all play by the unwritten rules and coast to the finish together – they took drinks sat back, then suddenly just as they crested the summit Froome was off …he was sprinting downhill to the finish.  No one expected this to happen and he pulled away before they could react.

Yesterday he did the same thing only this time on a flat stage where traditionally as the Leader he would sit in the pack and protect his lead on a relatively easy stage, just a few limiters form the finish that is exactly what was happening …suddenly he was part of a four man breakaway sprinting for the line – again everyone was taken by surprise had no time to react and he has taken another 12 seconds.

When you think differently in business you have the opportunity to both surprise and confuse your competitors and to create real advantage whether short term or long term.  How could you act differently and surprise your customers and/or competitors?