4 Exciting Breakaway Moves To Leave ‘the Herd of Sameness’

The herd of sameness.
The undifferentiated mass where everyone’s the same.
Where compliance rules.
Where conformity reigns supreme.
Where risks are avoided.
Where no one stands out.
Where commonness and average describe its constituents.
Where momentum from the past defines its direction.
Where innovation is missing in action.

What I mean by ‘breakaway’.

  • divergence.
  • radical change,
  • sudden attack or movement,
  • ’violent’ exit away from the herd.

For those of you who have followed my work—books, blogs, podcasts—you know that I advocate choosing a journey that others don’t.

Finding a way forward that serves others in ways that others don’t. Discovering your ‘sweet spot’ in a world where copying runs rampant and originality is a lost art.

Some might say that’s what ‘pivoting’ is all about.

No it’s not.

A pivot is a change of direction from the past. It’s an incremental move away from past momentum. It’s a shift making use of the competencies that have been developed in the past.

A breakaway move is disruptive.

It reinvents the playing field by virtue of the move you make. It dismisses the past in terms of reliance and usefulness; it isn’t used to inform the future.

I took a startup to A BILLION IN SALES by creating these 4 breakaway moves intended to create something NEW that could drive miraculous performance.

Move #1. BE DiFFERENT!

Don’t COPY.

Copying what others do keeps you in The herd of sameness. Look for ways to CREATE, not copy. Purge ‘best in class’ from your vault of business tools.


Stop thinking of yourself as faster, better, best, leader or #1.

“We provide the best customer service.” is pure conjecture offered by the company spewing the words.

Start thinking of how you can become The ONLY One that does what you do in satisfying what is compelling and relevant for people.


Ground yourself when it comes to defining what makes you special. A helium-filled 10,000-foot aspirational declaration doesn’t help convince people to do business with you.

“We are in business to save our home planet” may make the organization feel good about itself, but it does little to make it perfectly clear why they, and no one else, should have your business.

The ONLY Statement puts precision to your promise. It’s clear, measurable and understandable. It’s your Ground Zero.

Move #2. EXECUTE!

Academics and other so-called ‘experts’ have convinced us that the strategy is the critical element of high performing organizations.
They preach that the Plan must be elegant—by using their quantitative toolset—and it must be ‘perfect’—by accurately predicting the outcome of the Plan.

As a result, we spend 80% of our time trying to get the Plan absolutely ‘right’ in an imperfect world with stochastic events relentlessly bombarding us.

Stop! My experience in marching to A BILLION is that EXECUTION is the planning element that needs more attention than the Plan itself.

Get the Plan ‘just about right’ and execute it flawlessly is the real prescription for unbelievable performance.

My Strategic Game Plan is based on the view that a perfectly workable Plan is to ‘head west’.

Start executing. Learn from how well you’re executing. Learn from any unpredictable events—‘body blows’—that have rocked you. Adjust the Plan. Keep executing.

Move #3. SERVE!

Actually, the leadership herd of sameness is large and growing.

Most leaders are rote practitioners. They follow the leadership pedagogy promulgated by theorist academics and HR pundits who all espouse the same fundamentals.

Tactics of leadership are encouraged as the things leaders should do in order to transform themselves into ‘great’ leaders.

And so, tactics dealing with communications, delegation, team building, planning and others rain down on the leadership crowd with everyone getting washed with the same soap.

This is a BIG problem in my view.

Tactics should always be informed by strategy; tactics without strategic context serve no productive purpose other than satisfying the ‘expert’ pushing the tactics under their definition of ‘the right thing to do’.

My leadership guide was always to enhance the ability of the organization to EXECUTE! our Strategic Game Plan pristinely and hence improve performance and results ever higher.

My prime focus was to embed myself in the workplace—I call it ‘Leadership by SERVING Around (LBSA)—asking one simple question: “How can I help?”

The ‘gold’ I discovered from my breakaway move for the most part was what had to be done to remove the mud and grunge in the organization that was preventing effective execution: ‘dumb’ rules, policies, processes, systems and procedures that didn’t enable strategy execution, they prevented it.

Drawing a direct Line of Sight for people between their specific job responsibilities and the strategy was another SERVING Leadership role I played. Simple reason why it was important: if people understood exactly what they had to do to effectively execute the strategy, chances are their actions would deliver the strategic outcomes expected.

LBSA didn’t make me a ‘better’ leader, it made me a DiFFerENT leader from everyone else in ways which were required to drive performance through the roof as we marched to A BILLION IN SALES.


There are certain tasks that should be delegated, but there are also some things the leader should do themselves regardless of what the books say.

’Strategic Micromanagement’ is my way of describing the fact that certain tasks associated with the execution of the organization’s strategic imperatives should be owned by the leader. No delegation. Period!

Audacious breakaway leaders NEVER delegate the stuff relating to the execution of their strategy.

These are some of the actions I took personally.

  • I ‘put my fingerprints’ on architecting ‘The Customer Moment’, the customer engagement process required to deliver amazing service experiences. Defining the behaviors required to ‘dazzle’ a customer were led by me. I took on the job of ensuring the organization knew what ‘Moments’ looked like, and trained everyone to deliver them.
  • Selling the organization’s Strategic Game Plan to employees was MY responsibility. I didn’t delegate it to anyone. It was my way of hearing first hand what people thought of the journey we decided to take and what they needed to fulfill it.
  • I had to answer the tough questions about why we chose the path we were on and how we were going to be successful.
  • I took on the role of ‘Strategy Hawk’ for my organization. It was my personal responsibility to monitor how effectively our strategy was being implemented and what remedial actions had to be taken to get us back on track when our results strayed from objectives.
  • I personally participated in the recruitment process for frontline managers and, on occasion, frontline employees as well. Panel interviews were held with potential candidates and I played an active role asking questions and selecting who got the job.

My objectives were twofold: first, to ensure that people in positions ‘close to customers’—I consider the frontline manager to be one of the most important positions in any organization—had the right Leadership By Serving Around skills and attributes and, second, to model the interview dynamics—questions and probing—for the other managers in the room.

Frontline people are key to executing a strategy; I wanted my fingerprints on the frontline recruitment and selection process.


Inertia plagues the ability of organizations and individuals to achieve superlative levels of performance which can only be achieved by a desire to breakaway from the momentum of the past.

My breakaway roadmap worked for me, and I guarantee it will work for you if you trust it.


Related: Why Being Imperfect Fast! Is the Secret To Amazing Business Growth