Beware the noise of other people’s ideas

Beware the noise of other people’s ideas

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The book “Noise, A Flaw in Human Judgement” by Daniel Kahneman, Cass Sunstein and Oliver Sibony explores the information and choices that interfere with judgement when people make decisions.

Reading it got me thinking about noise of a different kind.

Brand noise.

The interference comes from many quarters (and here I am adding more while extolling you to tune it out — oh, the irony).

Still, the idea is worth considering because brand noise makes it hard to hear what you care about and even harder to act on it—making the latest loud thing, popular process or enticing tidbit irresistible.

Even before you launch an endeavour, the ruckus begins with no shortage of advice and examples. Podcasts telegraph what other businesses do have done and what worked for them and didn’t. Books dissect other successes and failures. Frameworks and models abound to get lean, focus on CX to win, stay agile, practice empathy, and avoid your team’s dysfunctions. And that’s before you’ve opened the doors or sold anything.

Surely, you think, there is a piece of information worth your attention lurking inside the cacophony.

Read more about avoiding shiny objects. Click here

Maybe. The noise might coalesce into a symphony or at least a tune you can play. But just as likely, you’ll end up with a frankensong of clashing chords. Because others are doing something is never a valid reason to copy them.

As a voracious volunteer for noise, I’ve had to develop a few strategies for finding what’s instrumental while tuning out what’s merely interesting.

Before bringing anyone else’s ideas into my business, I ask. Does this help me achieve my purpose? Will it align with my values? Can I keep those promises? Does what I’m trading contribute value to my result?

Author Cal Newport calls getting away from the relentless noise’ deep work‘. And going deep is how you tune into the channel of what you care about to gain genuine understanding and get away from the hubbub.

Turn the advice of counter-culture stalwart Timothy Leary on it’s head. Turn off, tune out and drop in to your thoughts and motivations. Find your core so you have a filter for future noise.

The results of brand noise are easy to see. Copycat business models. Primetime friendly values. A purpose picked from central casting. Broken promises born of hubris. The echo of memes repeating across social channels. Crowd-sourced plans and tactics.

By all means, pluck anything useful from the noise. There’s absolutely no reason to make other’s mistakes. However, beware the lure of using their ideas and actions as a proxy for doing
your work.

Your brand is a result, make sure it’s a result of what YOU care about.


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