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Business Lessons from the Beastie Boys

GUEST AUTHOR BLOG: Mindset 101: Learning from the Beastie Boys about changing perceptions by Andy Stefanovich author of "Look at More: A Proven Approach to Innovation, Growth, and Change."

Look at More
Look at More

Technology has changed the music business, and most labels and artists aren’t happy with one of the results – easier pirating. Bootlegs are the bane of the business, putting a dent in legitimate sales when they flood the market before an album’s even released. Cease and desist letters, lawsuits and sabotage haven’t stopped the tide.

A change in perspective might be more constructive than continuing to fight this losing battle.

Beastie Boys are among the artists and labels that have done a 180, embracing “the leak” as a marketing asset. Just last month, Beastie Boys countered a leak of their new album, “Hot Sauce Committee Part 2” by streaming every track with a link to buy. And they cleverly billed theirs as the “filthy dirty nasty version” versus the sanitized one that was leaked.

You could be in the music business or a manufacturer of widgets. When it comes to business challenges and innovative solutions to address them, a key driver is mindset – the intellectual foundation of creativity. When you change your perspective – one of the four “thinking disciplines” behind your mindset – you open yourself to a greater range and variety of new ideas and solutions. That leads to innovations that, ideally, will have a better ROI than the “old way” of doing things.

Here’s a brief exploration of these disciplines:

First, a changed perspective is really all about being open to new perspectives, situations, or ideas. It relates to your comfort and ability to incorporate alternative points of view in your thinking, and indicates your general interest and curiosity about things. And it’s easily done – start with your customers and employees for a dose of inspiration.

Next, don’t be afraid to skin your knees. That’s a natural result of taking risks. Get over the natural tendency to link your ego with your ideas and remember that it will only hurt for a moment. Risk-taking is at the heart of some of the world’s greatest moments, innovations, businesses, and achievements.

"You can change your mindset when you challenge assumptions and embrace ambiguity." -Author, Look at More, Andy Stefanovich

Third, what sparks your passion? Yes, passion – that kind of intense enthusiasm that has you staying up way late at night (despite a 5 a.m. wakeup call) to indulge it, without thinking twice. Seeking it and unleashing it will drive you to reach new levels of creativity. The simplest way to connect with your passion – and others’ – is Oneword. Find a unique word that represents your personal essence, gets you excited and engaged. Use it to jumpstart communication, connect your passions, and unleash untapped energy that can be channeled to influence your mindset.

Finally, you can change your mindset when you challenge assumptions and embrace ambiguity – what we call confusion tolerance. Too often, people are uncomfortable with the ambiguity of not having an immediate idea or solution to a situation. To end that discomfort, quick ideas are devised that are neither new nor novel. Give yourself and your team permission to generate and explore several new ideas before choosing a solution. If you want a more creative mindset, take a big step back, put aside your preconceived notions, quit looking for quick or easy solutions, and consider more options.

For the music industry, the easy solution has been to enlist hired guns to fight the pirating battle. But how much more effective is it to shift the mindset, making a positive from a negative while potentially engaging more fans in the process?

Andy Stefanovich is Chief Curator and Provocateur of Prophet, a strategic brand and marketing consultancy that helps its clients win by delivering inspired and actionable ideas. This article is based on his new book, “Look at More”. Andy can be reached at astefanovich@prophet.com.

Email me at bullishonbooks@cnbc.comAnd follow me on Twitter @BullishonBooks