Game changers are those who appear in history books as having not only stepped outside the box but took it a step further and blew the entire side of the box out. They are the business minds, owner, and entrepreneurs who inspire an entire population and country. When asked your greatest driving force it might be the name of a great business owner who has made an impact on how you do, and think, about business as a whole. These are the people we label as game changers in business. We asked entrepreneurs and business owners who they felt the biggest game changers in history were.
Some great game changers spend less time trying to find out how to make something cheaper and instead focus on making an item much, much better. Executive coach Michael Harden comments on his pick for a game changer. “There is no doubt that Steve Jobs has to be at the top of this list. He either started or revolutionized at least six different industries. He was able to do this because he was a non-linear thinker. Rather than thinking about how to take something and incrementally make it better, like many CEOs do, he would make a quantum leap. Instead of spending time and money trying to figure out how to make a cell phone better or cheaper, or how to improve on the “Walkman” and other handheld recording/playing devices, he looked at it from a different perspective: What would I do if I had to design or create this kind of device today? He had to “unlearn” what we all knew and assumed about these devices, and start from scratch. That non-linear thinking, which is very absent with a lot of executives today, is what allowed him to create such revolutionary products and start brand new markets. Who knew they needed a smart phone before he showed us the iPhone? Who thought they needed a hand-held tablet before he introduced us
to the iPad?”
There are also game changers which have been left out of the general conversation when it comes to the well-known list. Matt Reischer, Esq., nominates one such person. “The founder of Marvel Comics Stan ‘The Man’ Lee is an underappreciated visionary for changing the market place of comic book publishing and pushing the boundary of the comic medium. I have always admired Stan Lee’s ability to sell while not seeming to sell by creating a believable narrative that grips the imagination. The ability to effortlessly sell through persuasion and narrative story telling is a business skill that resonates for me as a lawyer. While Stan’s contribution may not appear to be game changing because the genre of super heroes and funny books are often chided for not being serious, no one can deny that the contemporary pop culture milieu is a $20 Billion business encompassing Movies, TV, and video games.”
Some business owners change the game with how they run their business instead of what they do with their business. Author Kevin Paul Scott feels this makes a game changer. “A CEO that really changed the game was Truett Cathy, the founder and former CEO of Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A. Cathy’s relentless commitment to quality and customer service set his company apart. In 8 Essential Exchanges, I emphasize the need for leaders to exchange expedience for excellence. Truett Cathy embodied that exchange and once said, “We need to get better before we get bigger; once we get better our customers will demand that we get bigger.” Chick-fil-A recently stole the chicken crown from KFC, becoming the U.S. revenue leader for a quick-service restaurant chicken company.”
No matter which game changer you find inspiration from the entire group could be described as, in general, what you should aspire to be. Game changers make business fun. Dreaming about products that could make a huge impact on the market and a difference in how people live is like dreaming of winning the lottery. Until you reach that point, admiring game changers of past and present will make you want to get up and go.