Bill Taylor, the founding editor of Fast Company, gave a compelling keynote at the Texas Christian University’s Neely School of Business 75th anniversary dinner.  He talked about constant reinvention, long lasting change, and the art of disruption. But the topic that resonated with me the most…was a reference he made to George Carlin (of all people) and the use of his term: Vuja De.

You see, Vuja De is just Deja Vu spelled backwards and is simply an opposite phenomenon.  Applied to business, Bill asks “can you look at an industry you have worked in for your entire career…a problem, or a set of customers you have been working with – and somehow look at it in a way you have never seen it before?” Can you take the familiar and make it look unique?

Bill said in his speech that the most successful organizations in history didn’t try to out-compete their industry, but instead chose to redefine the terms of the competition, embracing one-of-a-kind ideas in a world of “me-too” thinking.

Do you stand for something special, memorable, and truly original?

Take the Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital for instance: a 160 acre property surrounded by beautiful woodlands and wetlands – a scene more resembling a northern Michigan vacation lodge than a hospital. The property features cobblestone hallways, lush with natural flora and fauna, a farmers market in the atrium, a day spa for patients and families, a concierge, and world class dining. Not the typical sterile environment most hospitals subscribe to.

Bill loosely quotes Nancy Schlichting, the hospital CEO, for saying something along these lines, “We know everything about surgery, cancer treatment, and medical research…but for all of that experience, we knew almost nothing about how to treat people right and create an experience that puts them at ease, rather than makes them nervous”.

Other hospitals choose to be indistinguishable from one another, yet Nancy hired a Ritz Carlton exec to help execute her vision for a better patient experience in a new kind of hospital. She did not think it was radical to do something so radical – she argues that it was logical.

Bill adds “You can’t let what you know limit what you can imagine”.

We are experts on pricing homes, filling out contracts, and closing transactions. What can we be better at? What have we missed while chasing the same opportunities as everyone else?

For years, real estate agents have been looking for an affordable online marketing solution. Zillowpress solves this need once and for all. Every agent in America has access to an attractive real estate web presence. Now what?

Act logically. Be radical. Radical is logical. You just have to be willing to light the match.

Note from author: This is part 1 of a series of posts related to my experience in the MBA program at TCU in Fort Worth. Learn more here. Topic 1: Managing People