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Do You Dare To Be Bad?

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Do You Dare To Be Bad?

Hint: It pays for what you excel at…


What are you bad at?

Being bad is good business practice, it’s profitable and it pays for you being able to deliver excellence.

Now of course you’re not a bad person! Nor do I suggest that you should run a bad business. Being bad here, means being bad in the service of great. Being selectively bad – and often going against the norms of your industry – can offer you the chance of delivering something extraordinary for your customers.


Here are some powerful examples:

Commerce Bank (and Metro Bank in the U.K.) offers terrible interest rates on deposits – this pays for long opening hours, extra staff and raving fans as customers.

Ikea are never in easy-to-access locations in cities around the world: they’re always out of town, you have to pick, transport and assemble the furniture yourself (or pay to have it done for you) and you’re likely to spend all day there navigating round the maze of isles! But they offer great designs, low prices, great service…and great Swedish meatballs! (Oh, and raving fans as customers).

Apple: currently the world’s most valuable company (currently around $930b). These nasty guys have a closed ecosystem that their products operate in. This is very inconvenient for some. Just try and integrate equipment from other manufacturers… it’s painful (and I’ve tried). However everything ‘Apple’ works seamlessly well together. Its products are superbly well designed and it has a tribe of avid followers.

Being bad often means going against the industry norms and what you are “expected to do”. With supply for everything we commonly consume exceeding demand and the situation getting worse, it pays to be selectively ninja at one thing, and selectively bad at the rest. And then refusing to apologise for it!

It’s a challenge, it means embracing weakness, it means having the desire to win in one area and lose in another… but if the companies above – and many more like them – are anything to go by, the rewards can be great!


Originally from the UK, Ian has lived and worked in Southeast Asia for nineteen years. The last eight of those have been spent coaching and mentoring over sixty executives and business owners. Ian's specialist area is helping executives in mid-market growth firms improve their strategy and revenues, retain their key team members, improve execution and build cash.

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