Break Down What’s Important About Your Identity

The Story of Telling writes in a recent post: “When we get caught up competing, we get caught out playing catch up. It turns out you don’t need to compete when you know who you are.”

Jim echoed this message in his post, Even Lions Can’t Play Where the Gorillas Play:

“So the first question to ask when developing a niche is this: What’s special about who we are? What’s interesting and unique about who we are?

Some of what you are is interesting, unique and can be built on. Some is neutral and probably less important than you think to your identity. Other stuff could be bad and taking away from your ability to develop a niche.

Sure, you’re a chamber orchestra. That’s not an inherently popular genre, and you know that. That’s OK because it’s what your organization is about. You can’t change that without basically just starting a new organization.

Maybe you also have a long-standing tradition of six different performances a year, coinciding with the high tide and the full moon coming together. Hmmm. Perhaps that’s something that can go. Perhaps reconfiguring your performance calendar, time-honored though it may be, is a good idea.

So two things: chamber music and a tide and full moon-based calendar. One is core to your identity, and one is just something you’ve been doing for a long time.

Step 1 to developing a niche is to break down what’s important about your identity, what is not, and then start thinking about how to build on the good stuff.”

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