Imitation Is The Sincerest Form of Imitation

Change is tough for a lot of people. And when you’ve built an entire company around one way of doing things, it’s hard to find another way - even if suddenly you really want to.

When someone has the insight, the clarity and the courage to invoke fundamental change into an industry or a company it’s amazing how quickly the initial nay-sayers jump on board once the results come rolling in.

I’ve blogged about Hyundai’s innovation of protecting car buyers from losing their jobs by offering a guarantee that they can return any new Hyundai they buy this year.

While the Big Three were pre-occupied by heading to Congress with hands outstretched, Hyundai got about the business of change. And it worked.

Now that the evidence is in, both Ford and Saturn have offered similar approaches. Typically, they are trying to hedge their bets by limiting the amount of the guarantee.

The good news is they’re trying something.

The bad news is that by putting limiters on the program, they also limit their own learning.

In this case it’s particularly short-sighted because they already had a case study to follow. If they achieve less than Hyundai’s results, will that be because (a) consumers wanted a cast-iron guarantee (b) liked Hyundai better (c) wouldn’t buy an American car at any price or (d) none of the above? Answers on a postcard.

If you’re going to try something. Try something. Even if that means you start by following someone else’s success. The process will teach you something about your business you didn’t know.

And that is the definition of growth.